Scoil Mhuire Buncrana

Junior Certificate

JC heading picture.png

In 2014, the new Junior Cycle framework was introduced to schools on a phased basis, with all subjects being introduced in the 2019-2020 school year for certification in 2022.

The new framework “places our students at the centre of the learning process and envisages a modernised curriculum across all subjects. It allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed.” (Junior Cycle Framework, 2015). It is made up of newly developed subjects and short courses with a stronger a focus on literacy, numeracy, wellbeing and developing key skills. The Junior Cycle will also encompass a range of other essential learning experiences.

The Framework contains 24 statements of learning, underpinned by the eight principles, provide the basis for schools to plan for, design and evaluate their junior cycle programmes. That process of planning focuses on the combination of curriculum components (subjects, Priority learning Units and short courses) and other learning experiences.

Link for the full framework is available here:

The Principles, 8 Key Skills and 24 Statements of Learning

Underpinning the new junior cycle are a set of principles, key skills and statements of learning. These will ensure that your child receives a rich educational experience that has both breadth and depth. Your child will have access to a varied curriculum of knowledge, understandings, skills and values. Eight principles underpin the framework for Junior Cycle. These inform the planning for, as well as the development and implementation of, junior cycle programmes in all schools.

The Principles and 8 Key skills of Junior Cycle are summarised as follows:


Through engaging with the key skills students will:

  • be more actively engaged with their learning
  • take greater ownership of their learning
  • have a critical engagement with digital technology
  • be encouraged to problem solve and think creatively.

The twenty-four statements of learning describe what your child should know, understand and value having participated in junior cycle. Scoil Mhuire will ensure that all statements of learning feature in the programme offered to their junior cycle students.

The statements of learning can be found here:

Subject Options on offer to students in Scoil Mhuire


Our students can study a maximum of 10 subjects for the JCPA, with an option of 9 subjects if they take 2 short courses of 100hours.

Reporting and Assessment

A new reporting structure at Junior Cycle will contribute to the personal and educational development of students. It will support and underpin ongoing learning and assessment. Reporting will:

  • Provide information to parents about their child’s achievements and progress in school
  • Support students in their learning by suggesting next steps or providing formative feedback to help students’ self-evaluation

The most significant change in the new Junior Cycle is in the area of assessment. A dual approach to assessment, involving classroom-based assessment across the three years and a final externally assessed, state-certified examination can enable the appropriate balance between preparing students for examinations and facilitating creative thinking, engaged learning and better outcomes for students. From now on, junior cycle students will receive a new Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA). The JCPA will reflect a much wider range of your child’s achievements over the three years of junior cycle. The JCPA will report on a number of areas, including;

  • Subjects (State Examination-SEC and Assessment Task- AT)
  • Classroom Based Assessments (CBA)
  • Short courses
  • Other areas of Learning (OAL)

The state examination that students sit at the end of their junior cycle will also 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

Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) provide our 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. For the majority of our subjects, 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. (AT) 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. Short courses are available in Coding and Digital literacy.

State Exams

Exams will be set, held and marked by the state Examinations commission in June of 3rd year which will account for 90% of the final grade in most subjects. English, Irish and Math’s will be offered at Higher and Ordinary level and be one 2 hour exam. All other junior cycle subjects will be offered at a common level.

Other Learning Experiences

Students will have many opportunities to engage with a range of other learning experiences in Scoil Mhuire as part of their Junior Cycle Programme 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 balanced educational experience. These may be in curricular, extra-curricular, volunteerism or school community based.

Our students could include their engagement in:

  • Debating
  • Public Speaking
  • Math’s week
  • Coding Club
  • Seachtain na Gaeilge
  • World Book Day
  • Open night guide
  • Volunteering at school events
  • Class Prefect & Leadership team
  • Student Council
  • Green Schools
  • Climate change
  • SciFest
  • BT Young Scientist
  • Wellbeing Week
  • Cycle Against Suicide
  • Homework club
  • SciFest
  • BT Young Scientist
  • Wellbeing Week
  • Cycle Against Suicide
  • Library
  • Technology Club
  • Science Week
  • School Musical
  • School Choir
  • Build a bank
  • Athletics
  • Girls Active
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Athletics
  • Mercy Day mass
  • Accelerated reader

*This list is not exhaustive

Student Wellbeing

Your child’s wellbeing is of central importance to his/her educational success and overall happiness. As a result, Wellbeing will become a core part of your child’s junior cycle experience. This area of learning includes, amongst others, Physical Education, Civic, Social and Political Education, Social, Personal and Health Education (including Relationship and Sexuality Education) and Guidance.

Level 2 Learning Programmes

There is a new Junior cycle pathway for students with particular special educational needs called Level 2 Learning Programmes (L2LPs). These are successfully taking place in special schools and are available for some students in mainstream post-primary schools also. Students completing this programme will have their results reported on the JCPA

For further information on the new Junior Cycle visit: for subject and short course specifications and information regarding assessment for general information regarding the new Junior Cycle

Follow us
School newspaper produced by the Transition Year students
Scoil Mhuire Buncrana,
St Oran's Road,
Co. Donegal,
F93 PN53

074 93 61065

© 2024 Scoil Mhuire Buncrana