Junior Cycle

The Junior Cycle Programme is a three year programme which begins on entry to Form I and is completed at the end of Form III. It was significantly restructured and revised in 2014 in order to best equip students with the skills and knowledge needed in contemporary life. The revised programme has been successfully implemented over a phased five year period.

Since September 2019, all new entrants to secondary school engage in the Junior Cycle Programme, a three year programme of engagement with core and choice subjects. The aims of the new Junior Cycle are to create links between subjects, to create a curriculum that would ensure students developed skills and processes that they could transfer to real life and to ensure that course material is accessible to all students, regardless of academic ability or cultural context.

The principles underpinning learning at Junior Cycle include 24 Statements of Learning and 8 Key Skills. These are embedded in student learning in and across all subjects as well as in the other learning activities in school.

Short Courses have been introduced. A short course will link directly to the key skills mentioned above. They are designed for approximately 100 hours of student engagement over two or three years and specified at a common level across the entire junior cycle. This level of engagement will provide an opportunity for an enhancement of current provision for areas such as CSPE, SPHE and Physical Education (PE). Some short courses will be developed by the NCCA and can be used ‘off the shelf’ by schools in their junior cycle programme. Schools can also develop their own short courses. Some schools will decide to study each subject as a long course.

Each subject is assessed using both project work, and terminal examination. The projects are carried out through Classroom Based Assessments or CBAs. A CBA can be a written piece, a presentation, or an activity or event which students organise.  In most subjects, CBA 1 is completed in Form II, with CBA 2 completed in Form III. The result of these CBAs will be listed on the new ‘Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement’, which is a comprehensive statement of results and participation awarded on completion of the Junior Cycle Programme.

While students may still choose to sit English, Irish & Maths at Higher Level or Ordinary Level, all other subjects are taught and examined at a Common Level. The grading has been reconfigured to ‘descriptors of achievement’ rather than grades to reflect a student’s performance (see table below).

≥ 90 to 100% Distinction
≥ 75 and < 90% Higher Merit
≥ 55 and < 75% Merit
≥ 40 and < 55%Achieved
≥ 20 and < 40%Partially Achieved
≥ 0 and < 20%Not Graded

Junior Cycle Subjects in Villiers School

Villiers School offers a very wide range of subject options to students in both junior and senior cycle. At Junior Cycle our students study eight core subjects, and choose two optional subjects, in addition to engaging in a wellbeing programme, which is central to non-examinable subjects, such as CSPE, SPHE, Digital Literacy and PE. Ten academic subjects are examined at the end of Form III.  The results of these will appear on the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement along with CBA outcomes and a report on the student’s engagement with co and extracurricular activities within the programme.

Clicking on a subject below will open a new window to an external page containing further information about that subject. This information is provided by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

Core Subjects










Religious Education

Choice Subjects


Home Economics

Business Studies


Applied Technology

Wood Technology


Wellbeing Subjects

Civic, Social and Political Studies

Physical Education

Social, Personal and Health Education

Digital Media Literacy

Additional Useful Links:

Please click here for an overview of the Junior Cycle.

Video with general information regarding the Junior Cycle.