St Vincent's Secondary School

Junior Cycle


Junior Cycle

The New Junior Cycle was introduced in 2015 and its main aim is to put the student at the centre of her learning experience. Here in St Vincent’s we work to ensure each of our girls have such an experience. In consultation with the parent’s curriculum advisory group we have adapted a Junior cycle programme made up of 9 subjects and 2 short courses. This programme provides our students with a broad and varied curriculum which allows them to develop knowledge, skills, confidence in their own ability and ownership of their learning.

In first year all students have the opportunity to study all subjects and short courses to allow them to make an informed choice when selecting their optional subjects and their second short course into second and third year. Students in second and third year study all the core subjects, two optional subjects and one optional short course.

Core Subjects

Optional Subjects (all are studied in first year)

Short courses


Home Economics

PE (compulsory)










Business Studies


Please note: Students starting in First year 2020 choose one from the 3 languages. All other year groups study French


Religious Education


PE (compulsory short course)



Digital Media Literacy

Guidance related learning

Caring for animals


Along with the subjects, short courses and Wellbeing programme students have opportunities to engage with activities outside the classroom through their involvement in Co-Curricular and extracurricular activities. These activities could include being part of a sports team, taking part in a Science competition, debating, being part of the wellbeing committee. There is a wide variety of Co and Extracurricular activities to get involved. Work on these activities form part of each student’s other area of learning which forms part of their Junior Cycle Profile of achievement(JCPA)

Key Skills

Through engagement with the junior cycle programme students will develop and enhance these 8 key skills


Assessment in Junior cycle is looking at what you have learned and the skills you have developed. There is a new approach to assessment which involves assessment opportunities throughout the course of your three years and then a final assessment piece at the end of third year.

  • You will be assessed through Classroom based assessments(CBAs) which take place during second and third year.
  • You will be assessed through Assessment Tasks (AT) in most subject which take place after the second CBA in third year. The AT is worth 10% of your final mark.
  • Some subjects have a practical element such as ART, Music and Home economics
  • All subjects (excluding short courses) have a final terminal exam which is worth 90%. Practical subjects have a different percentage weighting in the final mark.

Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs)

CBAs take place in 2nd year and in 3rd year in each subject. Short courses have one classroom based assessment
The CBAs include oral presentations, written work, practical or design and making activities, artistic performances, scientific experiments, projects or other tasks. CBAs are reported on in the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement using the descriptors:

  • Exceptional
  • Above expectation
  • In line with expectations
  • Yet to meet expectations

Assessment Task

After completing your second CBA in each subject you will Complete an Assessment Task(AT). The AT will take place during class time over two lesson periods of 40 minutes each and is supervised by your teacher. The AT requires you to reflect on the skills, Knowledge and understanding you developed during your second CBA. The AT is sent to the State Examinations Commission(SEC) for marking and is worth 10% of your final grade in each subject.

Final examination

At the end of third year you will undertake an examination in each subject. These examinations are externally set by the SEC. Each examination is 2 hours long. In all subjects except English, Irish and Maths the papers are at common level. English, Irish and Maths have papers at Higher and ordinary level. You will decide your level in these subjects with your teacher during the course of your three years. The grading system for these exams will be explained in more detail later on.

Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

When you have completed your three years you will receive your JCPA. This gives you a broad picture of your learning journey over the course of the three years. On your JCPA will be the following:

  • The results of your Final examination in each subject which includes the grade for each Assessment Task
  • The results of each Classroom Based Assessment
  • Areas covered in your Wellbeing Programme
  • Achievements and engagement in other areas of learning

Grade Descriptors

Junior Cycle subjects

Grade Descriptor

Percentage Range



Higher Merit






Partially Achieved


Not Graded(NG)


Classroom Based Assessment(CBA) Descriptors

  • Exceptional
  • Above Expectations
  • In Line with Expectations
  • Yet to meet Expectations

A description of each of these CBA descriptors for each subject and CBA is available in the Assessment guidelines for each subject which can be accessed at

Short Course Outline

Coding Short Course Outline

Philosophy Short Course Outline

Choral Singing Laboratory Short Course Outline

Physical Education Short Course Outline

St Vincent's Secondary School
Seatown Place
Co. Louth

042 933 6736/933 2790

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