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The Leaving Certificate Applied

The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct, self-contained two-year Leaving Certificate programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life. The programme is pre-vocational by nature and is designed for those students who do not wish to proceed directly to higher education or for those whose needs, aptitudes and learning styles are not fully catered for by the other two Leaving Certificate programmes. Participants in the Leaving Certificate Applied are mainly engaged in work and study of an active, practical and student-centred nature.

The programme sets out to recognise the talents of all students and to provide opportunities for developing personal responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. The programme focuses on the talents of each student and helps students apply what they learn to the real world.

The two-year programme consists of four half-year blocks called sessions. Achievements are credited in each session. Courses are designed on a modular basis and are of thirty hours duration. Each year is divided into two sessions (September to January and February to May) over the two-year duration of the programme. Learners must take a total of 44 modules. They are also required to complete seven Student Tasks over the two years of the programme.

The Leaving Certificate Applied course is available in almost 300 schools nationally.

The courses

Courses are offered in three main areas:

· Vocational Preparation, involving work experience, enterprise and communication
· General Education, offering lifeskills, the arts, social education, leisure and language
· Vocational Education.

Course structure

Each course consists of a number of modules. Each module takes place over half a year. There is also a wide range of practical courses, called vocational specialisms, from which the student can choose.

Assessment and examinations

Assessment is continuous throughout the course and there is a final examination.

Assessment takes place on the completion of modules and practical activities that allow the student to integrate the learning from different courses.

The final examination must be taken in the following areas:

· English and Communication
· Two vocational specialisms
· Mathematical Applications
· Language
· Social Education.

There are written and oral examinations in all languages. There are practical examinations in the vocational specialisms. The written examinations take place in June, at the same time as the examinations for the established Leaving Certificate. View more information on the Leaving Certificate Applied curriculum here.

The certificate awarded

Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a Leaving Certificate from the Department of Education and Science. The certificate is awarded at three levels:
LevelMarks and Credits Required
Marking system for examination gradesPass60-69% (120-139 credits)
Merit70-84% (140-169 credits)
Distinction85-100% (170-200 credits)
Candidates who get less than 60% (120 credits) or who do not complete the course, are awarded a Record of Experience.

A Pass in the Leaving Certificate Applied is the equivalent of 6 Grade D's at Ordinary Level in the established Leaving Certificate.

Eligibility for further education and third-level courses

A student who has been awarded the Leaving Certificate Applied can go on to a very wide range of Post-Leaving Certificate courses(PLCs). These are available in local post-primary schools and colleges.

The PLC courses can lead on to a National Certificate Level 2 (FETAC Level 2). These are generally one-year full time courses. There are also some part-time courses that can be taken over a longer period.

There are more than 50 awards available in five broad areas - Art/Design, Business, Science, Services/Leisure and Communications/Media studies.

Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied cannot gain direct entry through the Central Applications Office (CAO) system to the universities or Colleges of Technology.

However, those who get a Further Education and Training Awards (FETAC) Level 2 award can be eligible for some third-level courses in the Institutes of Technology and through these to some degree programmes.

Students cannot go directly to nursing but may be eligible to apply as a mature student with certain FETAC qualifications or relevant experience.

Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied can also go on to FÁS Apprenticeship programmes. Many students go directly to employment.

How to apply

If you are a post-primary school student, your details will be sent to the Examinations Branch of the Department of Education and Science by your school. If you are an external (non-school) candidate for the Leaving Certificate Applied, you must send your application to the State Examinations Commission in good time.

Source: Irish Government Website, Oasis

and NCCA website