The Junior Cycle covers the first three years of secondary school. Children begin their second-level education around the age of 12 or 13. The Junior Certificate examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle in post-primary schools and students normally sit the exam at the age of 15 or 16.
Twenty-six subjects are currently available but not all schools offer them. You can view the Junior Cycle syllabus and curriculum information here. All students must follow courses in Irish (except where that student is exempt from studying Irish), English, mathematics and civic, social and political education. There may be other compulsory subjects, depending on the type of school.
The Junior Certificate School Programme
The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) has been designed to help young people who are at risk of leaving school early and who would benefit from special support when they are working towards the Junior Certificate.
Schools that offer the programme are given extra resources in order to facilitate teachers to develop a team approach to supporting the students.
Students taking the Junior Certificate examination study the normal Junior Certificate syllabus. All students participating in the Junior Certificate School Programme must be entered for the Junior Certificate examination. All JCSP students are entitled to a profile - this is an individualised record of their achievement. This profile is in addition to the Junior Certificate.