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The Junior Certificate Programme

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. You can keep up-to-date with the proposed changes by visiting

Click here to read our latest article on out what students moving to secondary school in September can expect.

Below is information on the exisitng Junior Certificate Programme

The Junior Certificate examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle in post-primary schools. The Junior cycle caters for students from 13 to 15 and students normally sit the exam at the age of 14 or 15, after 3 years of post-primary education. However, the Junior Certificate is not limited to post-primary school students.

A candidate following an approved course of study outside the State or who is attending an approved course of study organised under the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme , Adult Literacy and Community Education Schemes, the Department of Social and Family Affairs second-level scheme for the unemployed or an analagous scheme, may also sit the exams. Junior Cycle, students study eight broad areas:

· Language and Literature
· Mathematical Studies
· Science and Technology
· Social, Political and Environmental Education
· Arts Education
· Physical Education
· Religious and Moral Education
· Guidance, Counselling, Pastoral Care.

Over the 3 years in the Junior Cycle, every student should have formal experiences across these 8 areas.

Junior Certificate subjects
EnglishHome Economics
History Art, Craft, Design
GeographyMaterials Technology (Wood)
GreekTechnical Graphics
Classical StudiesBusiness Studies
Hebrew StudiesTypewriting
FrenchEnvironmental and Social Studies
GermanCivic, Social and Political Education
SpanishReligious Education
ItalianPhysical Education
ScienceSocial, Personal and Health Education
Subjects in the junior cycle curriculum are kept under continuous review by the NCCA as part of its ongoing review of junior cycle (lower secondary) education.

New Project Maths Syllabus

The new Project Maths syllabus is due to be rolled out in all schools from September 2010. There will no longer be a Foundation level syllabus at Junior Certificate. There will be Ordinary level and Higher level syllabuses only. However, a Foundation level examination will be offered at Junior Certificate for as long as is necessary to meet the needs of candidates for whom an Ordinary level examination is not appropriate

There is an increase in the amount of statistics and probability to be studied at both Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate.

At each level there is increased emphasis on student understanding of the concepts, as well as on the use of appropriate contexts and applications. More active methodologies will be used to promote better student engagement in mathematics classes and to provide them with better insights into mathematics and its applications. Further information on the new syllabus is available on the following

Project Maths Info Leaflet.pdf

and on the NCCA website project maths page

All students must follow courses in Irish (except where exemptions apply), English, Mathematics and Civic, Social and Political Education. There may be other compulsory subjects, depending on the type of school. Further informati0n on the Junior Certificate Syllabus and Curriculum is available on the NCCA

Curriculum On Line website -

Assessment and examinations

The Junior Certificate is assessed by means of a written examination at the end of the three-year programme, along with practical examinations and project work in some subjects and oral and aural examinations in Irish and continental languages.

The practical and oral examinations take place during the third year of the programme. The written examination takes place in June.

Examination fees

Students sitting for the Junior Certificate must pay an examination fee. This fee is paid through the school.

Examination Grades

Percentage Range Grade
85 or overA
70 but less than 85B
55 but less than 70C
40 but less than 55D
25 but less than 40E
10 but less than 25F
Less than 10 No Grade


The school sends parents who are paying the examination fee a form. The parent makes the payment through a bank and the bank must stamp the form. The parent then returns the form to the school.

Students whose parent or guardian holds a current medical card do not have to pay the fee. In the case of parents who have a current medical card, details of the medical card are put on the form and the parent then sends the form back to the school.

Source: copyright Irish Government Website, Oasis

and NCCA Curriculum on line website –