In planning for a junior cycle, the 24 statements of learning and the key skills provide a guide for schools as they design their junior cycle programme and will allow parents and students become informed as to what they should expect from the junior cycle experience.
When thinking of first steps, schools might consider an audit of key skills across the programme currently on offer, or an analysis of this programme through the lens of the statements of learning. This evaluation could include consultation and discussion with staff, students and parents. Examples of first step activities and a key skills toolkit are provided to stimulate discussion and support schools in this planning.
Schools also have the opportunity to develop their own short courses following the format of the template provided by the NCCA. This offers schools the facility to develop short courses that are aligned to the needs and interests of their students. There are some examples of junior cycle programmes and sample timetables provided to show the flexibility of approach that can be taken in programme design.
In the new junior cycle, students with particular special educational needs can access learning programmes that are aligned to Level 2 of the National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ). These learning programmes are built around Priority Learning Units (PLU’s) and are designed to develop the social and pre-vocational skills of the students involved. An online planning tool has been developed to support schools in planning and managing their Level 2 programmes.
This section of the website also provides some important information for parents on how to support their child in their learning during the 3-year junior cycle programme, including procedures and supports available during the transition period from primary to post-primary education.
Various networks have played an important part in supporting NCCA work with junior cycle developments in schools. The junior cycle network that was established in 2012 has led the way in initiating change in schools and sharing these experiences, ideas and resources with others. Other networks have formed within management bodies, school trusts and other agencies, to support the implementation of the Junior Cycle Framework with their partners.