Santa Sabina Dominican College

Junior Cycle

Junior Cycle Programme 2022

Santa Sabina Dominican College provides a three year Junior Cycle Programme which is consistent with the Framework for Junior Cycle as directed by the Department of Education and Skills. The main focus of the Framework for Junior Cycle is on learning. Our programme is informed by the learning needs and interests of our students and reflects the characteristic spirit of our school.


The main features of the programme include the following:

  • Students making a greater connection with learning thereby improving the quality of learning that takes place
  • Improved literacy and numeracy outcomes
  • A strong profile for the development of key skills

The programme we provide:

  • Subscribes to and reflects the vision, values and principles of junior cycle education.
  • Addresses the Statements of Learning
  • Emphasises the development of the Key Skills
  • Facilitates assessment and the process by which evidence of learning is generated, gathered, assessed and reported.
  • Contributes towards a junior cycle qualification
  • Offer progression opportunities towards Senior Cycle

Our students work towards a Level 3 Junior Cycle qualification and study ten examination subjects.


What students will learn is described in 24 Statements of Learning and eight key skills in accordance with the Framework for Junior Cycle. Each subject specification includes links to the 8 key skills. These skills are also embedded in the learning outcomes, which are clearly set out in the subjects.

The skills of Literacy and Numeracy together with the skills of Managing Myself, Staying Well, Being Creative, Communicating, Working with Others and Managing Information and Thinking, feature strongly in the areas of learning and the curriculum.

The new focus on Key Skills helps students to become more aware of how they learn alongside what they learn and this will enable them to generate evidence of that learning as they progress.

The key skills are embedded in the learning outcomes of all curriculum specifications and teachers build them into their class planning, their teaching approaches and assessment.


Students of Santa Sabina study ten examination subjects from the following:

Irish, English, Mathematics, one European language (French, German, Italian) History, Geography, Religion and three optional subjects from the following Art, Music, Home Economics, Business, Science.

Irish, English and Mathematics have two levels, higher and ordinary. All other subjects are studied at common level.

All subjects have their own specification replacing what was previously known as a syllabus.

Exemption from Irish is given to students who satisfy the criteria laid down in circular 0053/2019.

Non - examination subjects include P.E., SPHE, CSPE

The programme also includes the area of Wellbeing which incorporates the above non- examination subjects.


The Framework for Junior Cycle 2015 outlines the assessment of the subject specifications through: ongoing feedback; two Classroom-Bases Assessments(generally one in second year and one in third year); reported on to parents/guardians and students by the school; an Assessment Task (devised by the NCCA and marked by the SEC) in most subjects and a Final Examination set, administered and marked by the SEC at the end of third year (Circular 0059/2021)

The combination of the Assessment Task and the Final Examination, marked and awarded by the SEC will generate a grade for each subject.

Assessment is a feature of classroom practice over the three years of the programme. Students will be responsible for generating, gathering and presenting evidence of their learning. Teachers provide feedback to students on that evidence and report on student progress.

In addition, students will undertake formal school summative assessments. These take place in November each year and in May at the end of year 1 and year 2. In June of 3rd year the students sit the Junior Certificate State Examination.

On completion of the programme students will receive a Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

Classroom Based Assessments

Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs) provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning and skills in ways not possible in a written examination, for example their verbal communication and investigative skills.

CBAs are undertaken during a defined time period within the normal class contact time to a national timetable. Students complete one CBA in second year and one in third year in most subjects.

CBAs are reported on in the JCPA using the following descriptors or features of quality

  • Exceptional
  • Above Expectations
  • In line with Expectations
  • Yet to meet Expectations.

When the second Classroom-Based Assessment is completed, students in third year complete a written Assessment Task on what they have learned and the skills and competences that they have developed in that assessment. This Task, set by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is undertaken during normal class time and submitted to the SEC for marking. This Assessment Task accounts for 10% of the overall mark in the final examination.

Where a student wishes to undertake a subject outside of school they will not be in a position to complete the requirements for the CBA and AT. In these instances, not being able to complete the requirements for CBAs will result in students only being able to attain marks available in the final examination.

Final Subject Examinations

These examinations are set , administered and marked by the SEC. The written examination is no longer than two hours duration. They are held in the month of June in year 3. The final written examination is at common level, apart from English, Irish and Mathematics where two levels, Higher and Ordinary are available.

The final examinations that students sit in their subjects in year 3 are marked according to descriptors rather than grades, so instead of A,B,C,D,E,F and NG the following descriptors are used:

Distinction: 90- 100

Higher Merit: 75-89

Merit: 55-74

Achieved: 40-54

Partially Achieved: 20-39

Not graded: 0-19

Reporting on Student Achievement

Formal reporting by the school to students and their parents/guardians on the progress and achievements of students in their subjects and wellbeing will take place in first and second year. The school will issue the composite Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) following the final examination. This will complement reporting on progress to parents/guardians during parent/teacher meetings and through normal student feedback sessions, including feedback after completion of each CBA. This formal reporting will be supplemented by a range of informal written and oral feedback on student progress.

Reporting on students achievements in the area of Wellbeing.


Wellbeing is core to a student’s junior cycle experience. Key components of this area of learning will include the following subjects/specifications:

Physical Education, Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE), Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE). SPHE Includes Relationship and Sexuality Education (RSE)

Wellbeing includes learning opportunities to enhance the physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing of students.

Our Wellbeing programme is in line with the Department of Education and Skills Framework for Practice and our focus is on the development of a strong moral compass and the building of resilience

Student achievement in the area of Wellbeing will be recorded on the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement.

Other Learning Experiences:

Students have the opportunity to engage with a range of other learning experiences as part of the junior cycle programme and these can be recorded on the JCPA. Other learning experiences play a critical role in ensuring that students are provided with a broad and balanced educational experience. Examples of other learning experiences include student engagement in a science fair, a musical performance, debating competition, enterprise fair etc. They can also include extracurricular activities such as student council, school clubs and societies or participation in school sporting activities.

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