The New Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle is Changing

“Learning opportunities that achieve a balance between learning subject knowledge and developing a wide range skills and thinking abilities.”


Watch the video to find out about approaches to assessment in the new Junior Cycle. 


In 2014, the new junior cycle was introduced into Irish schools. Over the coming years your child will experience newly developed subjects and short courses and will find that their learning has a significant focus on key skills and well being. Your child will be on an exciting three year learning journey which will also include new approaches to assessment and reporting.

Eight principles underpin the Framework for Junior Cycle (2015). These principles will inform the planning for as well as the development and implementation of junior cycle programmes in all schools. 

The Eight Principles

High quality curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning support students in developing greater independence in learning and in meeting the challenges of life beyond school, of further education, and of working life. 
The school's junior cycle programme is broad enough to offer a wide range of learning experiences to all, and flexible enough to offer choice to meet the needs of students.
All students experience a high quality education, characterised by high expectations of learners and the pursuit of excellence. 
Curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning provide opportunities for students to be creative and innovative.
The experience of curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning encourages participation, generates engagement and enthusiasm, and connects with life outside the school.
Curriculum, assessment, teaching and learning enables students to build on their learning to date, recognises their progress in learning and supports their future learning.
 The educational experience is inclusive of all students and contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcomes for all.
The student experience contributes directly to their physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing and resilience. Learning takes place in a climate focused on collective wellbeing of school, community and society.

The Eight Key Skills

There are eight key skills required for successful learning by students across the curriculum and for beyond school. These key skills and their elements are outlined below.


The 24 Statements of Learning

The learning at the CORE of the new junior cycle is described in the 24 statements of learning. In Coláiste Iósaef, teachers are engaged in subject planning as part of their commitment to ensuring that all statements of learning, along with literacy and numeracy and other key skills feature in the programmes for all junior cycle students. 


Subjects continue to play an important role in junior cycle programmes.The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) are developing specifications for the following subjects offered in the college:

The new curriculum specifications (please click relevant subject above) for subjects will be outcomes-based and in most cases, they will be common level specifications. The exception to this will be the subjects English, Gaeilge and Mathematics where the specification will be at two levels, Higher level and Ordinary level.

Assessment | Focus on Learning

The process of assessment reveals where students are in their learning. The three stages of the assessment process are:

1. Gathering Evidence
2. Making Judgements
3. Giving Feedback. 

This three stage process is integral to the principles that embody formative assessment at junior cycle. We like to use the "garden analogy" below to explain this.