Here in OLM we are delighted to offer subjects from 1st year to 3rd year under the new Junior Cycle. This takes over from the old Junior Cert and allows students to engage more and learn through dynamic and exciting teaching strategies. The Junior Cycle reform was put into action in 2015 by the then Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan, TD. 

The aim of the reform is to make the Junior Cycle journey for all students accessible and in line with teaching in the 21st Century. The new Junior Cycle places the student at the centre of their education. It allows them to explore ideas, critically think about problems, and become part of their education throughout their three years in the programme. Click here to read the 2015 framework document on the reform.

Along with the final exam at the end of their 3rd year, students will also engage in Classroom Based Assessments (CBA) in 2nd and 3rd year. These are forms of continuous assessment that will allow the learner to reflect on their work to date and create something that they then put forward for marking. The results of these CBAs will then be marked on their Profile of Achievement at the end of 3rd year, along with their exam results. After their CBA in 3rd year, the students will also do an Assessment Task (AT) that helps them reflect on the work they have put into their CBAs and this is sent to the States Exam Commission (SEC) along with their exam book after the Junior Cycle Exams.

To get a breakdown and some more information about the Junior Cycle program click here.

Students in OLM study English, Gaeilge, Maths, Science, a Modern Foreign Language (MFL), Religious Education (R.E.), Geography, and History. 
They also have classes in CSPE, SPHE, and Computer Studies once a week.

Students can then choose from a range of practical subjects they would like to further their knowledge in, Music, Art, Technical Graphics or Home Economics

English

English in junior cycle aims to develop students’ knowledge of language and literature, to consolidate and deepen their literacy skills and make them more self-aware as learners. More specifically it encourages all students:

• to be creative through language and to gain enjoyment and continuing personal growth from English in all its forms

• to develop control over English using it and responding to it with purpose and effect through the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading and writing

• to engage personally with and think critically about an increasingly broad range of spoken, written and multimodal texts

• to develop an informed appreciation of literature through personal encounters with a variety of literary texts

• to use their literacy skills to manage information needs, and find, use, synthesise, evaluate and communicate information using a variety of media

• to gain an understanding of the grammar and conventions of English and how they might be used to promote clear and effective communication.

Gaeilge

In the junior cycle specifications for Irish, students consolidate and deepen their understanding of Irish. Students are enabled to communicate in an effective, interactive, confident manner in formal and informal settings in the language community. The fostering and development of awareness is emphasised; language and cultural awareness as well as students’ self-awareness as language learners. Junior Cycle Irish seeks to consolidate and develop the skills students bring to post-primary school. Students are empowered to assume ownership of Irish; an important life skill.

Students are encouraged to

• use language effectively and confidently, both personally and in communicating with other users in the language community

• enjoy creative and innovative communication in Irish

• appreciate Irish and have a desire both to speak it and use it

• express themselves through consolidation of their literacy skills

• attempt to use newly-learned language aspects

• engage with a wide range of texts in various ways, for learning, research, and recreation

• have an appreciation and respect for literature in Irish so that they may enjoy literature and benefit from it

• gain a better understanding of Irish culture and have respect and understanding for other cultures and languages

Maths

The aim of junior cycle mathematics is to provide relevant and challenging opportunities for all students to become mathematically proficient so that they can cope with the mathematical challenges of daily life and enable them to continue their study of mathematics in senior cycle and beyond. In this specification, mathematical proficiency is conceptualised not as a one-dimensional trait but as having five interconnected and interwoven components:

• conceptual understanding—comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations

• procedural fluency—skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately

• strategic competence—ability to formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts

• adaptive reasoning—capacity for logical thought, reflection, explanation, justification and communication

• productive disposition—habitual inclination to see mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, coupled with a belief in diligence, perseverance and one’s own efficacy.

Science

Science in junior cycle aims to develop students’ evidence-based understanding of the natural world and their ability to gather and evaluate evidence: to consolidate and deepen their skills of working scientifically; to make them more self-aware as learners and become competent and confident in their ability to use and apply science in their everyday lives. More specifically it encourages all students:

• to develop a sense of enjoyment in the learning of science, leading to a lifelong interest in science

• to develop scientific literacy and apply this in cognitive, affective and psychomotor dimensions to the analysis of science issues relevant to society, the environment and sustainability

• to develop a scientific habit of mind and inquiry orientation through class, laboratory and/ or off-site activities that foster investigation, imagination, curiosity and creativity in solving engaging, relevant problems, and to improve their reasoning and decision-making abilities

• to develop the key skills of junior cycle to find, use, manage, synthesise, and evaluate data; to communicate scientific understanding and findings using a variety of media; and to justify ideas on the basis of evidence

• to acquire a body of scientific knowledge; to develop an understanding of Earth and space and their place in the physical, biological, and chemical world and to help establish a foundation for more advanced learning.

Geography

The study of Junior Cycle Geography enables students to become geographically literate. It stimulates curiosity, creating opportunities for students to read, analyse, synthesise and communicate about their immediate environment and wider world. It develops knowledge, skills, values and behaviours that allow students to explore the physical world, human activities, how we interact with our world and to recognise the interconnections between systems.

French

The Specification for Junior Cycle Modern Foreign Languages aims to develop communicative language skills broadly aligned with the A band (A1 to A2, basic user) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)3 and its descriptors. It also aims to enable students to explore the interdependence between language and culture, to develop their appreciation of the relevance of languages to their lives for personal, social, educational, vocational and leisure purposes, and to derive enjoyment from language learning. More specifically it encourages all students to

• actively engage in language activities and tasks, developing the capacity to understand written and spoken language

• communicate effectively and confidently in the target language in familiar contexts through a range of media

• develop their capacity to use appropriate structures and vocabulary for the purposes of communication, both written and oral

• enjoy a language-learning experience that will facilitate and encourage them to continue learning languages in future

• be reflective and autonomous in their language learning, and become actively involved in monitoring and assessing their progress

• appreciate their own and other cultures

• develop skills that they can apply to other areas of study and to their lives.

Spanish

The Specification for Junior Cycle Modern Foreign Languages aims to develop communicative language skills broadly aligned with the A band (A1 to A2, basic user) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)3 and its descriptors. It also aims to enable students to explore the interdependence between language and culture, to develop their appreciation of the relevance of languages to their lives for personal, social, educational, vocational and leisure purposes, and to derive enjoyment from language learning. More specifically it encourages all students to

• actively engage in language activities and tasks, developing the capacity to understand written and spoken language

• communicate effectively and confidently in the target language in familiar contexts through a range of media

• develop their capacity to use appropriate structures and vocabulary for the purposes of communication, both written and oral

• enjoy a language-learning experience that will facilitate and encourage them to continue learning languages in future

• be reflective and autonomous in their language learning, and become actively involved in monitoring and assessing their progress

• appreciate their own and other cultures

• develop skills that they can apply to other areas of study and to their lives.

History

The study of history at junior cycle aims to enable students to develop the necessary conceptual understanding, disciplinary skills and subject knowledge to investigate the actions of people in the past and to come to a deeper understanding of the human condition. Students also come to see the world, and their place in it, from a historical perspective; and understand how the people and events of the past have shaped the contemporary world. By exploring the past from a historical perspective, students also develop an interest and enthusiasm for history and acquire values and attitudes that shape their view of people in the past, including a regard for heritage and their cultural inheritance, and a sense of historical empathy, where people are judged in the context and values of the time in which they lived. The study of history instils in students a respect for integrity, objectivity and looking at issues from different perspectives. This capacity for critical thinking helps them to interrogate sources of evidence and make judgements about the viewpoint expressed, including the capacity to identify propaganda. Hearing and telling the stories of people who lived in the past helps students to understand more about how people live today; and can help students to learn from the past when thinking about how to address the problems of today.

Religious Education

Religious Education aims to develop knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values to enable young people to come to an understanding of religion and its relevance to life, relationships, society and the wider world. It aims to develop the students’ ability to examine questions of meaning, purpose and relationships, to help students understand, respect and appreciate people’s expression of beliefs, and to facilitate dialogue and reflection on the diversity of beliefs and values that inform responsible decision-making and ways of living

Home Economics

Home economics aims to develop students’ knowledge, attitudes, understanding, skills and values to achieve optimal, healthy and sustainable living for every person as an individual, and as a member of families and society. Students develop practical food and health literacy skills so that they are enabled to adopt a healthy lifestyle and make informed decisions that positively impact their health and wellbeing as individuals as well as within their families and society. Home economics nurtures students’ resourcefulness, innovation, adaptability, and competency as consumers. It develops students’ creative design and textile skills. Home economics develops students who are environmentally conscious and dedicated to a sustainable and responsible way of life.

Art

Visual Art at junior cycle aims to provide the student with a set of personal attitudes and qualities as well as skills and processes and a sense of the aesthetic. Through practical engagement in the areas of art, craft and design students will develop selfconfidence, inquisitiveness, imagination, and creativity. They will also develop authentic, realworld problem-solving capacities and the capacity to work over time, as an individual and in groups, on the design and execution of artistic and aesthetic tasks. Within the safe space of the art class, students will experience the authentic visual art processes of imagining, investigating, experimenting, making, displaying and evaluating. They will sometimes fail, and learn that failure can often be a hugely positive learning experience. Students will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and to engage with authentic and original art, craft and design work. In so doing, they will begin to develop the visual literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with contemporary culture. This will further contribute to the students’ understanding of the rich and diverse roles of art, craft and design in historical and contemporary societies and cultures.

Technical Graphics

The study of Graphics at junior cycle aims to:

• develop the student’s creativity, spatial ability, and capacity to reason and communicate ideas through engagement with abstract and applied geometric problem-solving activities

• encourage the development of the cognitive and practical dexterity skills associated with graphical communication

• instil an appreciation of the role of graphics in the world around them

• equip all students to make judgements on the best mode through which to represent their ideas and solutions

• encourage the production of drawings that promotes the skills of communicating through graphics

• develop students cognitive and practical skills associated with modelling and graphical communication.

Music

This music specification aims to contribute to the development of artistic awareness and understanding, self-expression, self-esteem, imagination and multicultural sensitivity, and therefore, to the development of the whole person. Students will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and engage with authentic and original music, that is both theirs and the music of others. In doing so, they will develop the music literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with today’s musical world.

For more information about anything Junior Cycle related you can contact us by email at juniorcycle@olmdrimnagh.com