St. Wolstan's Community School

Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle

In 2014, the new Junior Cycle was introduced into Irish schools. This new 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.

Junior Cycle places students at the centre of the educational experience, enabling them to actively participate in their communities and in society and to be resourceful and confident learners in all aspects and stages of their lives.”

The Junior Cycle is of three years’ duration. The Junior Cycle covers a vital period in young people’s lives when they encounter significant changes in their educational experience. While a majority of subjects are assessed as part of the Junior Cycle Examination, the Junior Cycle provision also includes a number of subjects that are integral to the curriculum, but are not formally assessed in this way. The inclusion of these subjects in the curriculum ensures that students receive a broad, balanced education that introduces them to all the areas of experience relevant to the needs of learners at this age and stage of their development. In this way students engage in personal development and achieve a level of competence in these courses, which will enable them to proceed to Senior Cycle education.

Subjects offered at Junior Cycle Level in St. Wolstan’s Community School include core subjects (usually compulsory for all students) and optional subjects. Students engage in a selection process of option subjects upon enrolment. Descriptions of each subject are available from the school and on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment Website

Most subjects have common level specifications in that there is one level taken by all students and no Ordinary or Higher level option will be available. The exception to this will be the subjects English, Gaeilge and Mathematics where the specification will be at two levels, Higher level and Ordinary level. In St. Wolstan’s Community School all students have access to Higher Level subjects and students and parents will be supported and advised by subject teachers, resource department teachers and guidance counsellors on the appropriate choice of level for each subject before final assessments take place.

St. Wolstan’s operates a mixed ability system of education. However, at the end of the first year in May all 1st Year students sit common examinations in Irish and Mathematics. Students are allocated to places in higher or ordinary level classes according to the record of their attainment and review by subject department teams. Student tracking evidence is communicated with parents through the established assessments and can be discussed at parent/teacher meetings.


Currently all students study the following core subjects:

  • CSPE (Civil Social and Political Education) is assessed as a Learning Experience (non-exam subject) for students. Students complete a CBA in this subject as part of their assessment.
  • Digital Wellbeing (this programme helps to educate students in digital literacy through primary use of Microsoft 365 and online wellbeing).
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Irish (compulsory unless student qualifies under strict exemption conditions)
  • Mathematics
  • Modern Foreign Language (MFL) – French or Spanish
  • Physical Education (non-exam subject) Students complete a CBA in this subject as part of their assessment.
  • Religious Education (in Religious Education (RE) students learn about what people believe, why they believe and how these beliefs influence their own lives, the lives of others and the world around us. Faith instruction in any one particular faith is not part of the curriculum. This course is suited to students of all faiths and none.
  • SPHE (Social, Personal, and Health Education) (non-exam subject) Students complete a CBA in this subject as part of their assessment.
  • Science

Students also study two option subjects from the following list:

(Student preferences are met where possible, however this may not be possible in all cases.)

  • Applied Technology (formerly called Technology)
  • Business Studies
  • Home Economics
  • Music
  • Visual Art (formerly called Art, Craft and Design)


As well as ongoing in-class feedback, class tests and house exams twice a year, there are two main forms of assessment at Junior Cycle:

Classroom-Based Assessments (CBA's): Classroom-Based Assessments are when the teacher facilitates students during class time on a specific subject or short course and the teacher then works with the rest of the members of the subjects department to assess the work produced. For more information, please see the most recent publication from the Department of Education here: Junior Cycle October 2023 Publication.pdf

State Examinations: At the end of the third year of the Junior Cycle, usually in June, students will sit State examinations. These are run by the State
Examinations Commission (SEC).

It is school policy that students may not drop subjects at Junior Cycle level except in exceptional circumstances.

After Junior Cycle students may proceed into either:-

  • Transition Year
  • Traditional Leaving Certificate Programme
  • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP)

Parent/Guardian Information Presentation: Transition to Post Primary 14_9_2023.pptx

05 2024
Leaving Cert Exams
23 2024
School open for 1st, 3rd & 5th Year Students
26 2024
School open for 2nd, 4th and 6th Year Students
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St. Wolstan's Community School,
Clane Road,
Co. Kildare,
W23 RKA9

01 628 8257

© 2024 St. Wolstan's Community School