The JCSA – Junior Cycle Student Award – has replaced the old Junior Cert, and it is aiming to provide students with a richer educational experience. The idea is that when we shift focus away from what students are taught and focus instead on how and what they learn, and encourage independent thinking, learning and real engagement with education, we will end up with students who are more flexible and capable of adapting to the ever-changing learning environments of the 21st century.
What’s in store for students entering second-level from 2017?
For students starting first year in 2017, all students in the JCSA will study eight to 10 subjects. 10 is now the maximum allowed. You will undertake the new JCSA courses for English, Irish, French, German, Science, Business, Art and a new subject area called Well-being.
Some schools are offering short courses for students (this is at the discretion of the school) and students may take two short courses in place of one full subject. Students can swap one or two subjects for two or four short courses. So one student might study six subjects and four short courses; another might opt for nine subjects and two short courses; and a third might opt for eight subjects and no short courses. Where possible!
Every student is required to study English, Maths and, unless they have an exemption, Irish. These are the only subjects split into Higher and Ordinary level. All other subjects will be studied and assessed at a common level. The key part they are trying to achieve is to get teachers and students to focus around Key Skills and 24 statements of learning.
Your daughter should have received an NCCA information leaflet into her primary school to help explain this to you but if you have any other queries you can get information from www.juniorcycle.ie