St. Mary's Academy CBS
- An Edmund Rice School

Junior Cycle

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 wellbeing.

Your child will be on an exciting three-year learning journey which will also include new approaches to assessment and reporting.

Junior Cycle Objectives

The Framework for Junior Cycle aims to create the conditions where schools, in planning and organising their junior cycles, can focus on the learning taking place in classrooms. The Framework is designed to support the kinds of learning experiences that help students connect to and engage positively with learning. Through its breadth and flexibility it encourages innovation and supports creative learning in the classroom.

In moving away from a focus on a terminal centrally provided examination, it re-positions assessment where research tells us it matters most – in classrooms. It also facilitates schools in ensuring that literacy, numeracy and key skills are embedded in the learning taking place.

First Year

In First Year students are offered a broad range of subjects, which facilitates the transition from primary to Post-primary School. Our first years study all core subjects for the three years of Junior Cycle. In order to allow students experience all optional subjects, we offer a 'Taster Programme' where each student studies each optional subject on a rotational basis until the October mid-term break. The students then choose two subjects to continue studying for their Junior Certificate. In line with the New Junior Cycle, students will then take the exam in 10 subjects.

1st year Curriculum.png

New Methods of Reporting and Assessment

Please click on the images below to find more information about key aspects of the new Junior Cycle:


CBA.jpgStatements of Learning.jpgSLAR.jpg

Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

2016 marked the end of the Junior Certificate for the State Exams Commission, now students receive the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement Award (JCPA). This JCPA reflects on a wider set of your child’s achievements over the three years at Junior Cycle. The JCPA reports on the following:

During the three years at Junior Cycle, students will sit Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs). These CBAs allow your child to experience subjects and topics in many different ways, most importantly, they allow students to demonstrate their learning through methods that would not be possible to assess with pen and paper. CBAs are in every subject, CBA 1 in Second Year and CBA 2 in Third Year. They follow a national timetable and are awarded Descriptors by their classroom teacher after a SLAR (Subject Learning and Assessment Review) has taken place. The descriptors are as follows:

CBA descriptor.png

These descriptors are reported on through school reports and are also on your child’s JCPA when they complete Junior Cycle.

Once the CBAs are completed in third year, students then complete a written Assessment Task. This task is set by the NCCA, undertaken during normal class time and then sent to the State Exams Commission for marking. These Assessment Tasks are worth 10% of the overall mark received by the students in their final State Examinations Assessment which they sit in June of Third Year. The grading system for these exams has also changed. The old A, B, C, D, E, F, NG system has changed to the following:

Junior Cycle Grades.png

Other areas of Learning

Finally, students will have the opportunity to engage with a range of other learning experiences as part of their of the Junior Cycle programme. and have that recognised on their JCPA. These are a student’s achievements and learning experiences outside of the classroom over their three years, which are not curriculum-related (usually three items are included). These can include items such as-

- showing Commitment by being on the school football team

- showing Leadership by being on the Student Council

Other areas of Wellbeing

These are a student's achievements and learning experiences specifically about Wellbeing. Some examples of these can include items such as-

- learning about the changing nature of teenage friendship in SPHE or

- completing a project on homelessness in CSPE.

The image below is a sample Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement which illustrates how all of the above will be presented. Students will receive their JCPA’s in the Autumn following their Summer exams.

Sample JCPA.png

Railway Road, Carlow, Ireland
059 9142419
An Edmund Rice School
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