Curriculum in primary schools
What is the school curriculum?
The curriculum sets out the subjects children study in school.
It sets out what your child is taught and how their learning is assessed in each subject.
Ireland's primary and post-primary school curricula are set by the Minister for Education who is advised by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).
What do children learn at school?
The primary school curriculum consists of 7 curricular areas. Some areas are further divided into subjects. The 7 areas are:
- Language: Gaeilge (pdf), English (pdf)
- Mathematics: Mathematics
- Social, Environmental and Scientific Education: History (pdf), Geography (pdf), Science (pdf)
- Arts Education: Music (pdf), Visual Arts (pdf), Drama (pdf)
- Physical Education: Physical Education (pdf)
- Social Personal and Health Education: Social, Personal and Health Education (pdf)
- Religious Education is the responsibility of the school patron
The curriculum aims to provide all children with learning opportunities that recognise and celebrate their uniqueness and develop their full potential.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) provides information for parents about the curriculum. It also provides advice on how you can support your child's learning at school and at home.
Assessment of children in school
An assessment gathers information about how your child learns and what they learn. The assessment can show how your child is progressing and developing.
Schools must regularly evaluate students and periodically report the results of the evaluation to students and their parents.
Children's learning and achievements are assessed in primary schools using a variety of tests and other methods.
All Irish primary schools must carry out three standardised tests of students in English and Mathematics during primary school. They are tested:
- At the end of first class or at the beginning of second class and
- At the end of fourth class
- At the beginning of sixth class
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment has published Assessment in the Primary School Curriculum: Guidelines for Schools (pdf). It has also published explanatory leaflets for parents about the standardised tests.
Students will not be tested in special schools, if the school principal considers that a student’s disability prevents them from attempting the test.