Junior Cycle

Junior Certificate Subjects

First Year
 

Subject options in second year

These continue into third year and students select 3

Gaeilge             

Music

English

Art

Mathematics

Business

Geography

Home Economics

Science

 

French or German

 

CSPE

 

Music   

 

Business 

 

Art 

 

Home Economics

 

Non Examination Subjects:

SPHE, PE, ICT, Religious Education

 

 

Junior Certificate Schools Programme

The school offers the JCSP to students who are advised to take fewer subjects. Click here to read more information on the JCSP programme.

 

Junior Certificate Subjects

Art

Art, Craft and Design are three-dependent disciplines that are taught in Presentation Secondary School from Junior Certificate through to Leaving Certificate.  Art, Craft and Design play a major role in student development.  Each involves a different way of thinking:

 • Art emphasizes ideas, feelings, and visual qualities

 • Craft emphasizes the right use of tools and materials

 • Design emphasizes planning, problem-solving and completion, using drawing as a means of thinking

These unite in the basic growth to shape the world, for functional purposes, and to express and communicate ideas and feelings.  The contribution of the visual and plastic arts to life is a unique and enriching experience for all.

Art, Craft and Design provide a unique part of the education of the whole student, through heart, head and hand, enabling the student to shape her world with judgment, and to understand and appreciate the work of others.  The benefits of an education in Art, Craft and Design for the student at this developmental stage extend far beyond a competence in the subject itself.

This syllabus framework is designed for the full ability range in Junior Cycle.  This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

Business Studies

Business Studies is part of the curriculum which enables the student to make informed decisions in the everyday business of living, which contributes to the student’s understanding of the world of business, which encourages a positive attitude to enterprise and which develops appropriate skills in that field.

The syllabus is balanced between the business education necessary for the individual area, household area and business education in the purely commercial context.  This balance is achieved by devoting separate syllabus sections to ‘the Business of Living’ and ‘Enterprise’.  The business concepts and skills introduced in one are restated and reinforced in the other.  A section on economic awareness forms a bridge between these two sections.

The syllabus consists of topics that are interrelated and the achievement of the aims of the syllabus depends upon recognition of the need to integrate these various aspects of Business Studies.

Each section of the syllabus is described in an introductory sentence.  The key concepts and knowledge are then listed.  These are followed by a list of skills with which the students should be equipped having completed that section of the syllabus.  The student will be assessed on the skills as well as on the knowledge content.

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

CSPE - Civic, Social and Political Education

Civic, Social and Political Education aims to prepare students for active participatory citizenship. This is achieved through comprehensive exploration of the civic, social and political dimensions of their lives at a time when students are developing from dependent children into independent young adults. It hopes to produce knowledgeable students who can explore, analyse and evaluate, who are skilled and practiced in moral and critical appraisal, and capable of making decisions and judgments through a reflective citizenship, based on human rights and social responsibilities.

Civic, Social and Political Education are important for each student. It enables students to use their minds well in a changing, complex society.  It helps them to understand the rights and responsibilities of the individual in society, and the workings and nature of democracy.

Students study all areas of CSPE at a common level and are examined on both project and examination.  To prepare students, they must complete small projects in 1st and 2nd year along with studying theory for their examination.

In 1st year students study concepts such as Human Rights and Stewardships, in 2nd year students study three different concepts Democracy, Law, European Union and United Nations and in 3rd year students concentrate on their project and revision.

Students study this syllabus and are examined under a Common Level.

 

English

The essential aim of teaching English at Junior Cycle is to reinforce and continue the work of the primary school in nurturing the intellectual, imaginative and emotional growth of each student in Presentation Secondary School, by developing her personal ability in the arts and skills of language. This personal ability involves three inter-related sections: personal literacy, social literacy and cultural literacy.

Although these three sections must be separated for full explanation of their curricular significance, in the living context of English teaching they form a wholeness of the experience. The interdependence of these sections is the essential foundation for the successful teaching of English in the Junior Cycle.

The development of skills in speaking and listening should play an important role in reading and writing skills.  Fostering awareness in the student of the inter-relationship of these skills, and of their central role in the learning and thinking processes, is an important element of personal growth through English.

Social literacy stresses that it is mainly through language that the individual person is equipped to participate fully in society. The student should be introduced to the range of linguistic skills demanded by society and be encouraged to use them accurately.

This syllabus may be studied at three levels, Foundation, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Foundation, Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

French

This is a communicative syllabus organized around the needs, expectations and interests which students bring to the foreign language classroom.

Student needs centre around using and understanding the target language as a means of communication and instruction in the classroom. The students bring to the classroom a reasonable expectation that her language learning will equip her to cope in a country where the language is native.  The student can also reasonably expect that the language-learning process will draw upon themes and activities that are of interest to her.

The syllabus is to be seen as a teaching syllabus, a statement of the minimum content of themes and communicative tasks which should have been covered by pupils at Junior Certificate level.

The general educational aims of the Junior Certificate programme in the target language are:-

(a) to contribute to students awareness of language as a system of communication; 

(b) to give students an awareness of another culture, and thus a more objective perspective of their own culture;

(c) to contribute to the development in students of the capacity to engage in transactions and interactions with others; 

(d) through (a), (b) and (c) to contribute to students overall personal and social development;

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.  

 

Geography

Geography is the study of people and their relationships with their environment. It is concerned with helping to develop an understanding of the physical, social and economic processes which shape the environment.

The education of young people today takes place against the background of a world with such characteristics of geographical concern as

      -   Increasingly multi-cultural societies

      -   Sharp social and economic inequalities on a variety of scales

      -  An increasing pace of socio-economic change

      -  Growing concern over declining environmental quality in many regions

Geography can make an important contribution towards enabling young people to function more effectively as members of society.

The syllabus is structured around a number of key geographical concepts; these same concepts are at the core of the Leaving Certificate syllabus in Geography. There is thus a clear continuity between Junior and Senior Cycles.

The syllabus is based on a belief that an adequate understanding of many of the issues with which geographers are concerned can be reached only with an appreciation of the human attitudes and values involved.

It recognizes that the Geography teacher is involved in a body of knowledge which has wide horizons, and in a methodology which contains many and varied techniques and skills.

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

German

This is a communicative syllabus organised around the needs, expectations and interests which students bring to the foreign language classroom.

Student needs centred around using and understanding the target language as a means of communication and instruction in the classroom.  However, a student brings to the classroom a reasonable expectation that her language learning will equip her to cope in a country where the language is native.  The student can also reasonably expect that the language-learning process will draw upon themes and activities that are of interest to her.

The syllabus is to be seen as a teaching syllabus, a statement of the minimum content of themes and communicative tasks which should have been covered by pupils at Junior Certificate level.

The general educational aims of the Junior Certificate programme in the target language are:-

(a) to contribute to students awareness of language as a system of communication;

(b) to give students an awareness of another culture, and thus a more objective perspective of their own culture;

(c) to contribute to the development in students of the capacity to engage in fruitful transactions and interactions with others;

(d) through (a), (b) and (c) to contribute to students overall personal and social development;

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

History

At Junior Cycle, History should introduce young people to the job of the historian, and to the sources and techniques which historians use to find out about the past. Students learn about a wide tapestry of past events, issues, people and ways of life through which they can come to perceive patterns such as cause and consequence, change and continuity. It is in the past that they will find the roots of the contemporary world.

The Junior Certificate History syllabus which follows is designed to promote and accommodate this kind of learning.  It contains a number of elements which are important to the study of History at Junior Cycle.

The syllabus facilitates a variety of approaches to the teaching of history, e.g. use of a variety of types of historical sources, historical narrative and analysis, biographical studies, exploration of themes or issues, comparative studies and special studies. The content framework allows individual teachers to choose those areas most suitable to their students, and individual students to pursue special studies.

The syllabus framework is chronological in presentation, spanning prehistoric times to the present day.  This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

Home Economics

Home Economics focuses on the acquisition of knowledge and the development of skills and attitudes that will enable students to take control of their own lives at present and in the future, whether that be in the home, in further education, in the world of work, or other life situations.  The wide range of learning experiences to which the students are exposed will allow them to be flexible and adaptable in the changing situations of modern life.  It prepares students of both sexes for life in a consumer-orientated society and provides a learning foundation for those seeking employment in a wide range of careers, such as the food industry, tourism, clothing and design, and the health and social services.

Home Economics emphasizes the interdependent relationship that exists between individuals or families and their immediate and distant environments and promotes a sense of responsibility towards sustaining resources within those environments.

Home Economics is offered to Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate level.  The core areas of the Junior Certificate syllabus include:  Food Studies, Consumer Studies, Social Studies, Resource Management and Textile Studies. 

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.  

 

Mathematics

Mathematics is a wide-ranging subject with many aspects.

On the one hand, in its demonstration in counting, measurement, pattern and geometry, it fills the natural and constructed world around us, and provides the basic language and techniques for handling many aspects of everyday and scientific life.

On the other hand, it deals with abstractions, logical arguments, and fundamental ideas of mathematics, and so is an intellectual discipline and a source of aesthetic satisfaction. 

It is intended that mathematics education should contribute to the personal development of the students whilst helping them to acquire the mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding necessary for personal fulfillment.  It is hoped that to develop their problem-solving skills and creative talents, and introducing them to ideas of modeling and developing their ability to handle abstractions and generalizations, and to recognize and present logical arguments.

This syllabus may be studied at three levels, Foundation, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Foundation, Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

Music

This course in Junior Cycle Music has been specifically devised to suit the entire range of student aptitude and ability. It enables students, to acquire musical skills.

The syllabus outlines only the parameters of choice within which teachers and students may choose a considerable amount of the material and its approach as it best suits their individual and particular needs.

For this reason, it is now possible for a wider variety of schools to confidently introduce this course without prejudice to the musical interests and background of the pupils for whom they cater.   There is no need for students to have prior knowledge or experience of Music before beginning Junior Certificate Music.

The new syllabus is divided into three component parts which represent the three main musical activities.

(a) Performing Skills: Performing may be either school-based or the result of private tuition and may be practised individually or in a group.

(b) Composing Skills: Students are taught basic Music Theory and are encouraged to compose melodically and using elementary harmony.

(c) Listening Skills: Students will be involved in responding in musically perceptive ways.

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

Physical Education

Physical Education applies a whole approach to the concept of physical activity for students.  It recognizes the physical, mental, emotional and social dimension of human movement, and emphasizes the contribution of physical activity to the promotion of individual and group wellbeing. 

Learning in physical education involves the achievement of knowledge, concepts, skills, and attitudes central to physical education, together with recognising its potential for integration with other curriculum areas.

The general aim of physical education is to contribute to the preparation of the student for a life of autonomous wellbeing.  The aim will be pursued through the enhancement of the student’s sense of self, through the development of skillful and creative performance of practical activities.  The development of the students understanding of physical activity and awareness of the links between physical education and other curricular areas is part of the subject area.

Physical education syllabuses, at all levels, seek to build on movement skills previously developed through the student’s participation in physical education.  These skills will form the basis for further learning.  The student will develop the capacity to create more complex movement patterns in a variety of settings and modes.

Participation in physical education should promote recognition of individual capacities, a positive attitude towards participation and an appreciation of the benefits of interaction with others.

Physical Education is viewed as a compulsory subject, to be undertaken by every student in Presentation Secondary School, unless needs are expressed otherwise.

 

Religious Education

Religious Education is well placed to provide students with opportunities for reflection on human experience as well as for understanding and interpretation of that experience.

The whole curriculum is built around the principles of knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes, to promote personal growth and to facilitate the spiritual development of students.  Such opportunities encourage the students’ participation in their own conscious and critical development through fostering an understanding and critical appreciation of the values - moral, spiritual, religious, social and cultural - which have been distinctive in shaping Irish society and which have traditionally been accorded respect in society.

Throughout the programme of Religious Education is taught that human development is the development of the awareness of self as separate and unique, with the capacity for reflection, imagination and creativity and openness to ideas of truth, goodness, and beauty. 

From earliest times, the experience of the spiritual and the human search for meaning have frequently found expression in a religious interpretation of life. The history of humanity has been indelibly marked by the contributions of religious traditions. In

Ireland, Christianity is part of our rich cultural heritage and has played a significant role in shaping our vision of ourselves, our world, and our relationships with others. However, effective functioning in an increasingly complex culture demands that people have an understanding of a variety of religious traditions.

 

Science

A strong emphasis is placed on the area of Science in Presentation Secondary School.  Teachers work towards catering for the full range of students ability, aptitude and achievement.  The syllabus has three major components, biology, chemistry and physics, and is concerned with the development of scientific knowledge, skills, concepts, and attitudes essential for the responsibilities of citizenship in today's world. Our students, irrespective of syllabus level, will be required to study these three components to at least Junior Certificate level with options of studying these subjects in further detail at Leaving Certificate level.

At Junior Certificate Level the subject is activity-based in its design and emphasises practical experience of science for each individual student. The importance of the processes of science as well as knowledge and understanding is reflected in the syllabus structure. Through a variety of investigations and experiments, students attain the specified learning outcomes, developing appropriate science process skills and a knowledge of underlying science concepts.

Science education should encourage the development of manipulative, procedural, cognitive, affective and communication skills through practical activities that foster investigation, imagination, and creativity. 

The student will develop skills associated with manipulation of equipment and manual dexterity, with due regard to issues of health and safety.  The view for the student when completed the subject is that they will have a strong grounding in the Science area for further study. 

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

Spanish

This is a communicative syllabus organized around the needs, expectations and interests which pupils bring to the foreign language classroom.

Student needs centre around using and understanding the target language as a means of communication and instruction in the classroom. However, a pupil brings to the classroom a reasonable expectation that his or her language learning will equip him or her to cope in a country where the language is native. The learner can also reasonably expect that the language-learning process will draw upon themes and activities that are of interest to him or her.

The syllabus is to be seen as a teaching syllabus, a statement of the minimum content of themes and communicative tasks which should have been covered by pupils at Junior Certificate level.

The general educational aims of the Junior Certificate programme in the target language are:-

(a) to contribute to pupils’ awareness of language as a system of communication;

(b) to give pupils an awareness of another culture, and thus a more objective perspective of their own culture;

(c) to contribute to the development in pupils of the capacity to engage in fruitful transactions and interactions with others;

(d) through (a), (b) and (c) to contribute to pupil’s overall personal and social development;

This syllabus may be studied at two levels, Ordinary and Higher. The different requirements for Ordinary and Higher levels will be indicated by the teacher.

 

Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

The Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) Department in Presentation Secondary School works hard to contribute towards the development of all aspects of our students, including the aesthetic, creative, cultural, emotional, intellectual, moral, physical, political, religious, social and spiritual development, for personal and family life, for living in the community, and for leisure. 

Our commitment to the programme emerges from a holistic vision of health through different dimensions of teaching our students.  With the diversity of the programme it allows for learning to occur through mediums in the classrooms that are not always attribute to other courses of study.  This is embraced in the classroom through watching documentaries and films, role plays and presentations, analyzing newspaper, magazine and internet articles and inviting in speakers and play groups, all of which are hoped to contribute to the personal well-being and positive inter-personal relationships of all our students.

Social, personal and health education (SPHE) provides students with a unique opportunity to develop the skills and competence to learn about themselves and to care for themselves and others and to make informed decisions about their health, personal lives, and social development. 

All these decisions must be made in the context of the wider community. Support from the Board of Management, from the wider community and in particular from parents of our students, will be necessary for the successful implementation of a school’s programme of SPHE. With such support, students can be enabled to participate as active and responsible adults in the personal and social dimensions of society and to make responsible decisions that respect their own dignity and the dignity of others.

Social, Personal and Health Education is viewed as a compulsory subject, to be undertaken by every student in Presentation Secondary School.

 

For more information on each subject click here to be taken to the curriculum online website or click here for a useful fact sheet on each subject