Scoil Chonglais Post Primary School

Junior Cycle

The Junior Cycle places the student at the centre of the learning process and envisages a modernised curriculum across all subject areas. It allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed. The Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) outlines the curriculum and the assessment arrangements that will provide students with learning opportunities that achieve a balance between learning subject knowledge and developing a wide range of skills and thinking abilities.

Principles, Key Skills and Statements of Learning:

Underpinning the new Junior Cycle Programme are a set of Principles, Key Skills and Statements of Learning. These will help to ensure that your son/ daughter receives a rich educational experience, that has both breadth and depth. Your son/daughter 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. The eight principles of Junior Cycle are:

  • Learning to Learn
  • Choice and Flexibility
  • Quality
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Engagement and Participation
  • Continuity and Development
  • Inclusive Education
  • Wellbeing

Eight key skills permeate across the entire curriculum:

  • Managing Myself
  • Staying Well
  • Managing Information and Thinking
  • Being Numerate
  • Being Creative
  • Working with others
  • Communicating
  • Being Literate

It is envisaged that 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 learning at the core of Junior Cycle is described in the twenty-four Statements of Learning ascribed to the Junior Cycle.

The twenty-four statements, underpinned by the eight principles, are central to planning for, the students’ experience of, and the evaluation of the school’s Junior Cycle Programme. All schools are required to ensure that all Statements of Learning and the eight Key Skills feature in the programmes offered to their Junior Cycle students. The detailed learning outcomes will be clearly set out in subject and short course specifications.

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. From Autumn 2017, Junior Cycle students have received a new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). The JCPA reflects a much wider range of each student’s achievements over the three years of Junior Cycle.

Each subject has its own specification replacing what was previously known as a syllabus. Each specification describes the learning that takes place as part of the students’ study of a subject in Junior Cycle. By 2019 all new subject specifications will have been introduced. Students can study a maximum of 10 subjects for the JCPA, and if their school offers short courses they can study 9 subjects plus 2 short courses or 8 subjects plus 4 short courses for certification purposes. The State Examination that students sit in their subject at the end of their Junior Cycle will also be graded differently. Instead of A, B, C, D, E, F and NG the following descriptors will now be used:

Distinction: 90 to 100 %
Higher Merit: 75 to 89 %
Merit: 55 to 74 %
Achieved: 40 to 54%
Partially Achieved: 20 to 39 %
Not graded: 0 to 19 %

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 are undertaken in subjects and short courses and are facilitated by the classroom teacher.

CBAs are undertaken during a defined time period within normal class contact time and to a national timetable. Students 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 Expectations
  • 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 competences 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.

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. Other learning experiences play a critical role in ensuring that students are provided with a broad and balanced educational experience. These learning experiences could include student engagement in a science fair, a musical performance or a debating competition. They could also include extracurricular activities, such as: membership of the school Student Council or school clubs and societies; participation in school sporting activities

Reporting in Junior Cycle:

A new reporting structure at Junior Cycle contributes to the personal and educational development of students. It supports and underpins ongoing learning and assessment.

Scoil Chonglais, like other schools, will regularly provide information to parents about their child’s achievement and progress and support students in their learning by suggesting next steps and providing feedback to help students’ self-evaluation.

The reporting process at Junior Cycle culminates in the award of the JCPA to students. The JCPA was awarded for the first time in Autumn 2017.

Student Wellbeing: A student’s wellbeing is of central importance to his/her educational success and overall happiness. Wellbeing is a core part of each student’s Junior Cycle Experience. This area of learning includes, amongst others, Physical Education (PE), Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) [including Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE)] and Guidance.

Junior Cycle Curriculum in Scoil Chonglais:

All students study the following Core Subjects:

Irish, English, Mathematics, Science, RE, History, Geography, Physical Education, Civic Social and Political Education
(C.S.P.E), Social Personal and Health Education (S.P.H.E), Computers, Library Studies, and Wellbeing.

In addition, students also choose between French or German.

Finally, students choose 3 optional subjects from the following list:

  • Home Economics
  • Visual Art
  • Music
  • Wood Technology
  • Engineering
  • Business Studies
  • Graphics.
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3rd YEAR GAELTACHT TRIP, OCT 2nd / 3rd / 4th 2023
Scoil Chonglais Post Primary School,
Co. Wicklow

059 648 1449

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