Junior Cycle

Junior Certificate

“Junior Cycle places students at the centre of the education experience enabling them to actively participate in their communities, and in society and to be resourceful and confident learners in all aspects and stages of their lives”

1st Year – Junior Cycle

All students study the following core subjects:

  • Irish
  • English
  • Maths
  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Religious Education

Students choose 4 of the following subjects for 1st year:

  • Graphics
  • Art
  • French
  • German
  • Business Studies
  • Home Economics
  • Music
  • Applied Technology

In 1st year, the following Wellbeing subjects are also taken:

  • Civic, Social & Political Education
  • (CSPE), Physical Education (PE)
  • Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE)
2nd & 3rd Year Junior Cycle

All students study the following subjects to examination level:
  • Irish
  • English
  • Maths
  • History
  • Geography
  • Science
  • Religious Education.
Additionally, students take any 3 option subjects from 1st year:
  • Business Studies
  • French
  • German
  • Home Economics
  • Music
  • Art
    Applied Technology
  • Graphics

The following Wellbeing subjects are also taken:
  • Civic, Social & Political Education (CSPE)
  • Physical Education (PE)
  • Social
  • Personal & Health Education (SPHE)
Please click on the following links for further information about how your son/daughter will experience the new Junior Cycle in St Finian’s College.
  • Is your son/daughter joining us in 1st year? You will find important information here about what the new Junior Cycle looks like as well as what experience it will create for your son/daughter here
  • A short video about how reporting is different in the new Junior Cycle here
  • A short video about Junior Cycle Assessment here
  • A video in conversation with Parents about CBAs here

In 2014, the new Junior Cycle was introduced into Irish schools. From 2020 onwards all subjects are under the new Junior Cycle. It places the student at the centre of the learning process and allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed.

New Junior Cycle

Underpinning the new Junior Cycle are a set of principles, key skills and statements of learning. These will ensure that each child receives a rich educational experience that has both breadth and depth.


Key Skills

Key skills help learners develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to face the many challenges in today’s world. They also support students in learning how to learn and to take responsibility for their own learning.

These Key Skills are found throughout the planning of each subject. To read the description of each Key Skill, please click here.


Assessment in Junior Cycle

Assessment and reporting is strongly linked to the learning experience with a shift in focus to ongoing reporting and assessment to include feedback given at parent teacher meetings, teacher - student feedback, CBAs, the Assessment Task, OALs, Wellbeing and as well as a final exam.

From now on, Junior Cycle students will receive a Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) instead of a Junior Certificate.


This JCPA will reflect a much wider range of your son’s/daughter’s achievements over the three years of Junior Cycle in St. Finian's. The JCPA will report on a number of areas, including:


Classroom Based Assessments

Other Areas of Learning (along with other areas of learning in Wellbeing)



All subjects are now under the Junior Cycle and each has its own specification replacing what was previously known as a syllabus. Each specification describes the learning that takes place as part of the student’s study of a subject in Junior Cycle. All new subject specifications have now been introduced. Students can study a maximum of 10 subjects for the JCPA.

Students will still sit state examinations in subjects at the end of their Junior Cycle. These will 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

Information for CBA's can be found here

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 will be facilitated by the classroom teacher during a defined time period within normal class time and to a national timetable. Students will complete one CBA in second year and one in third year.

Once the second CBA is completed students in third year will complete a written Assessment Task. 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. The Assessment Task will be worth 10% of the overall mark in the case of most subjects. At the end of third year, students will sit the final SEC examination in June. CBAs will be reported on in the JCPA using the following descriptors:

  • Exceptional
  • Above Expectations
  • In Line with Expectations
  • Yet to Meet Expectations
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. We are currently exploring short courses which are innovative and interesting to our students with a view to introducing them in the future.

Other Learning Experiences

Students have the opportunity to engage with a range of other learning experiences in St Finian’s as part of school life 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 personal educational experience, which is reflective of the individual learner and their own learning journey.

Assessment & Reporting in Junior Cycle - reporting underpins student learning

A new reporting structure at Junior Cycle will contribute to a more personal. educational and holistic development of students. It supports and underpins ongoing learning and assessment. The learning journey becomes essential so students learn HOW to learn as well as what they are learning. Assessment & Reporting aims to:

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

As the Junior Cycle has a student centered approach, with a strong focus on the learner and their learning experiences, in St Finian’s we offer subjects which allow our students to reach their potential and grow their own natural talents.

All students study the core subjects of English, Irish, Maths, Science, History, Geography, CSPE, SPHE, RE and PE along with three other subjects of their choice from Business Studies, Technology, Tech Graphics, French, German, Music, Art and Home Economics. They choose their subjects at the end of 1st year. Click on any of the subjects listed below to see the new Junior Cycle Specification and what it entails for students,

All subjects other than those within our Wellbeing programme, will be assessed through CBAs (Classroom Based Assessments) an AT (Assessment Task, and a final exam.

CSPE, SPHE and PE fall under our Wellbeing programmes and offer our students support in looking after themselves, their physical, spiritual and mental health and the world around them.

General Information
Junior Cycle Subjects

Wellbeing subjects here

  • Physical Education
  • Civic, Social, Political Education (CSPE)
  • Choir
  • Social, Personal, Health Education (SPHE)
  • Digital Media Literacy
  • Guidance

Aug 23
1st Year 2024 Induction Day
Aug 26
Return to school 1st, 3rd, 6th yr
Aug 26
Return to school St Martha's & St Phyl's
Aug 27
Return to school 2nd & 5th year
Longford Road, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91 H593
044 934 8672
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