Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle caters for students in the first three years of their post-primary education.
The junior cycle was introduced on a phased basis between September 2014 and September 2021. It features revised subjects and short courses, a focus on key skills, and new approaches to assessment and reporting. 

The junior cycle places the student at the centre of the learning process. It allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed. The information below is taken from the leaflet ‘Junior Cycle Information for Parents of Post-Primary Students’.


Principles, Key Skills and Statements of Learning

Underpinning the new junior cycle are a set of principles, key skills and statements of learning. These will ensure that your child receives a rich educational experience that has both breadth and depth. Your child will have access to a varied curriculum of knowledge, understandings, skills and values. Eight principles underpin the framework for Junior Cycle. These inform the planning for, as well as the development and implementation of, junior cycle programmes in all schools.

Key Skills


Through engaging with the key skills students will:

● be more actively engaged with learning

● take greater ownership of their learning

● have a critical engagement with digital technology

● be encouraged to problem solve and think critically and creatively.

Statements of Learning

The twenty-four statements of learning describe what your child should know, understand and value having participated in junior cycle. Schools will ensure that all statements of learning feature in the programme offered to their junior cycle students.

How student achievement at Junior Cycle will be assessed

The most significant change in the new Junior Cycle is in the area of assessment. A dual approach to assessment, involving classroom-based assessment across the three years and a final externally-assessed, state-certified examination can enable the appropriate balance between preparing students for examinations and facilitating creative thinking, engaged learning and better outcomes for students.

Junior cycle students will receive a new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). The JCPA will reflect a much wider range of your child’s achievements over the three years of junior cycle. The JCPA will report on a number of areas, including:-

1. Subjects (State Examination and Assessment Task)

2. Classroom Based Assessments

3. Short courses

4. Other Areas of Learning

5. The Wellbeing Programme


Schools will be able to choose from a total of 21 different subjects for inclusion on their junior cycle programme. Each specification describes the learning that takes place as part of the student's study of a subject in junior cycle. The state examination that students sit in their subject at the end of their junior cycle will also be graded differently.  The following descriptors will now be used:











Classroom Based Assessments

Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a pen and paper examination, for example, their verbal communication and investigation skills. CBAs will be undertaken in subjects and short courses and will be facilitated by the classroom teacher.

CBAs will be undertaken during a defined time period within normal class contact time and to a national timetable. Students will complete one CBA in second year and one in third year in most subjects.

CBAs will be reported on in The JCPA using the following descriptors :-

● Exceptional

● Above Expectations

● In Line with Expectaions

● Yet to Meet Expectations

Once the second Classroom-Based Assessment (CBA) is completed, students in third year will complete a written Assessment Task on what they have learned and the skills and competence that they have developed in that assessment . This task set by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is undertaken during normal class time and will be sent to the State Examinations Commission (SEC ) for marking. This Assessment Task will account for 10% of the overall mark for the final examination. Specific arrangements are made for Visual Art, Music, Home Economics and the Technology subjects. At the end of third year, students will sit the final (SEC) examination in June, which will account for 90% of the SEC grade.


Short Courses

Schools may offer short courses on their junior cycle programme. A short course is designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement across two or three years of the junior cycle.

Beaufort College has chosen CSPE and PE as Short Courses for junior cycle.


Other Areas of Learning

Students will have the opportunity to engage with a range of other learning experiences as part of their junior cycle programme and these can be recorded on the JCPA. These learning experiences could include student engagement in Science Week, a musical performance or a debating competition.

They could also include extra-curricular activities, such as:

  • membership of Student Voice or school clubs and societies
  • participation in school sporting activities

Reporting in Junior Cycle

A new reporting structure at junior cycle will contribute to the personal and educational development of students. It will support and underpin ongoing learning and assessment. Schools will regularly:

  • Provide information to parents about their child’s achievement and progress
  • Support students in their learning by suggesting next steps and providing feedback to help students’ self-evaluation.

The reporting process will culminate in the award of the JCPA to students.

Student Wellbeing

Your child’s wellbeing is of central importance to their educational success and overall happiness. Wellbeing will be a core part of your child’s junior cycle experience. This area of learning includes, amongst others, PE, CSPE, SPHE incl. RSE and Guidance.

Level 2 Learning Programmes

There is a new junior cycle pathway for students with particular special educational needs called Level 2 Learning Programmes (L2LPs). These are available for some students in Beaufort College. Students completing this programme will have their results reported on the JCPA.

More Information:

For more information on Junior Cycle subjects visit:-





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