Junior Cycle 


Beginning on a phased basis from September 2014, the new junior cycle will feature revised subjects and short courses, a focus on literacy, numeracy and key skills, and new approaches of assessment and reporting. Schools will have more freedom to design junior cycle programmes that meet the learning needs of all students. For students, the new junior cycle will mean that the curriculum available in their schools will be a mix of subjects and short courses as well as other learning experiences. For a period of five years from 2014, the new Junior Cycle will operate in schools alongside the programmes based around the existing Junior Certificate.

The junior cycle places the student at the centre of the learning process. It allows for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be properly assessed. 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 eight principles of junior cycle are:

  • Learning to Learn
  • Choice and Flexibility
  • Quality
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Engagement and Participation
  • Continuity and Development
  • Inclusive Education
  • Wellbeing

Key Skills of the Junior Cycle

There are also eight key skills, as shown below, which your child will develop as part of the junior cycle course. 



Research with teachers and learners in the classroom has shown that these skills are relevant to all subjects and that they improve the learning experience. The key skills also support the development of literacy and numeracy, which is crucial for learners to access the curriculum. For example, skills in communication, problemsolving, and accessing and selecting information will contribute to literacy and numeracy development. 

For more detailed information on the key skills, please click here.


Statements of Learning

The learning at the core of the Junior Cycle is described in 24 statements of learning. Schools must ensure that all statements of learning, along with the key skills, feature in the programmes of all junior cycle students.

To access the statements of learning please click here.


More Information

More comprehensive information in relation to the various aspects of the junior cycle can be accessed at the following websites:





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