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New Junior Cycle – JCPA  Junior Cycle for Teachers Website Junior Cycle – Information for Parents, Students and Teachers The latest information on Junior and Senior Cycle

New Junior cycle Framework – September 2015

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, today announced the publication of Framework for Junior Cycle 2015.

The document sets out a clear vision and detailed outline of how teaching, learning and assessment in the Junior Cycle will be reformed to ensure a learning experience for young people that is highly engaging for them and appropriate to the needs of the 21st century.

Minister O’Sullivan said “The Framework for Junior Cycle 2015 builds on the initial framework document published in 2012 and has been informed by very valuable engagement with all of the educational partners.

“I have ensured that the comprehensive provisions relating to implementation which were agreed with the teacher unions last May and July are fully incorporated in the updated framework.

“Our students will be at the centre of the learning process and will engage with a modernised curriculum across all subjects. They will experience new ways of learning and a broader range of skills, while innovative classroom-based assessment will support that learning.

“Teachers will have the necessary professional time and resources to implement the new Junior Cycle successfully.

I welcome the decision of the Executive Committee of TUI and the Standing Committee of ASTI to ballot their members on the new Junior Cycle proposals.

“Through the new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement parents and students will receive a much more rounded, balanced and enriched picture of the students’ progress and achievements across all  areas of learning in the Junior Cycle.

“In addition, I have made a commitment to the school management bodies and to representatives of school leaders that, as implementation rolls out, and by September 2017 in particular, they will have the supports necessary to coordinate the Junior Cycle at whole-school level.

“I wish to thank the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), the State Examinations Commission (SEC) and the Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) support service for their outstanding work in the development of the curriculum, assessment and professional support arrangements for the new Junior Cycle.

The Minister concluded by saying:  “I look forward to progressing the implementation of the Framework for Junior Cycle 2015 in collaboration with teachers and school management- and of course with parents and students.”

– See more at:

New Junior Cycle Page for Teachers:

New Junior Cycle for Parents/ Students:

The junior cycle of post-primary education in Ireland is changing. From  2014, the new junior cycle will feature newly developed subjects and short courses, a focus on literacy, numeracy and key skills, and new approaches of assessment and reporting. Schools will have more freedom to design programmes that meet the learning needs of all students.

What is changing?
Greater choice for schools and their students
The learning at the core of the proposed new junior cycle is described in twenty-four
statements of learning. The statements, underpinned by eight principles, provide the
basis for schools to plan for, design and evaluate their junior cycle programmes.
Schools will have the flexibility to decide what combination of subjects, short courses
or other learning experiences will be provided in their three-year programme. Schools
will also be able to include priority learning units (PLUs) in the provision of a junior
cycle programme that is appropriate to the needs of a small group of students with
special educational needs.
Schools will have more flexibility and discretion to choose from what is available and,
if they wish, provide school-developed short courses in particular fields to meet the
specific needs and interests of their students. This flexibility will present schools with
the opportunity to involve students and their parents in the discussion about the kind
of programme that will best serve the needs of the students and the school, while at
the same time meeting the requirements of the Framework, as outlined in this

English, Mathematics and Irish will feature in the junior cycle programmes for all
students in recognition of the key role played by English and Mathematics in
supporting literacy and numeracy and the particular status of Irish in both Irish medium and English-medium schools.

It is important that the programme provided to students is not overloaded and will
allow them to engage in quality learning experiences. There will be a limit to the
number of subjects and short courses that will be included for certification purposes.
Most students will include from eight to ten full subjects or their equivalent.

maximum of four short courses (each one equivalent to half a subject) can be included. This means that most students will take one or other of the following combinations:

Eight subjects or 7 subjects + 2 short courses or 6 subjects + 4 short courses
• Nine subjects or 8 subjects + 2 short courses or 7 subjects + 4 short courses
• Ten subjects or 9 subjects + 2 short courses or 8 subjects + 4 short courses

A focus on school-based assessment

The Junior Certificate examination will be replaced by a new school-based model of
assessment. This is just one element of the changed approach to assessment in the
new junior cycle. The introduction of standardised testing towards the end of second
year the provision of an assessment and moderation toolkit and subject
specifications that include annotated examples of students’ work, and the
improvement in how schools report to parents on their children’s learning are also
significant elements, some of which are already under development. This new focus
on assessment, particularly on ‘assessment for learning’ as well as on ‘assessment
of learning’ will be a challenge for schools and will require significant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for principals and teachers. The challenge is not just one for schools. For the general public familiar with the Junior Certificate examination as it is currently configured, the move to a new school-based assessment system will involve a shift in mindset. Crucially, it will also be an opportunity for students to become active and reflective participants in their learning and assessment outcomes and it will bring lower secondary education in Ireland into line with best practice in countries with high-performing educational systems.

A new form of school-based certification

For the majority of students, schools will certify a student’s learning at a level that is
related to the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 35
and issue students with a School Certificate. For most students, this certification will generally
be for no fewer than eight full subjects or their equivalent and no more than ten full
subjects or their equivalent. For a small minority of students with special educational
needs, schools will certify a student’s learning at a level that is related to NFQ Level
2. This will reflect their learning in five key units. It will be also possible for some of
these students to take PLUs combined with some subjects and short courses.