In 2015, the Framework for Junior Cycle was introduced and implemented by the Department of Education and Skills to incorporate a shared understanding of teaching, learning and assessment practices. These practices will ensure our young people will experience a more inclusive, quality and relevant education. The vision underpins the need for fundamental change;

“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.”

This framework gives schools greater flexibility to design programmes, courses and other relevant experiences to meet the needs of their Junior Cycle students and equip them with life skills beyond the classroom into life. The programmes, courses and other relevant experiences will be guided by;

-the twenty four statements of learning, eight principals and eight key skills

– will include an introduction of Wellbeing programme

-will provide a range of other learning experiences

– introduce priority learning units for students with special educational needs.


The Junior Cycle will be introduced through a phased in model as illustrated below

Junior Cycle Framework – The Plan

Students will study a range of subjects and short courses. For some individual students with educational needs, some subjects, short courses or priority learning units may be experienced depending on their requirements.

A new dual approach to assessment will also be a fundamental change during the Junior Cycle. Formative assessment (ongoing) will be complemented by summative assessment (exams) . The main changes of this model of assessment will include;

  • Assessment to focus on effective feedback
  • A greater variety of assessment
  • Ensure collaboration by teachers talking to teachers about assessment
  • Will encourage setting and achieving personal goals in their own work
  • Help students to identify what to do next to improve
  • Equip students with the skills to redraft & correct their own work with guidance.

This new model of assessment will be achieved with the introduction of two classroom based assessments (CBA); one during second and the other completed in third year and one Assessment Tasks (AT) completed during third year in all subject areas. Teachers will grade students CBA work using the descriptors determined and stated by the NCCA. The AT will be graded by the States Exam Commission (SEC). This AT is worth up to 10% of their final Junior Certificate state exam sat at the end of third year.

JC Descriptors

Click on the links below to find extra Information on the new Junior Cycle

Everything you need to know about the New Junior Cycle – Newsletter

Junior Cycle Reform – Info for Parents Powerpoint

Junior Cycle for Teachers

Junior Cycle Information Leaflet for Parents