Junior Certificate School Programme - JCSP


The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) is particularly targeted at junior cycle (lower secondary) students who are identified as being at risk of early school leaving, perhaps without completing the Junior Certificate.

Following a pilot phase, the JCSP was introduced to schools in 1996. Since then, uptake of the programme has extended, on a phased basis, to all post-primary schools participating in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) initiative. While the majority of settings providing the JCSP are post-primary schools, it is also offered in Special Schools, Children Detention Schools, Traveller Training Centres and Youth Encounter Projects. The JCSP is aimed at students at risk of early school leaving but has also been found useful in addressing other educational needs. The programme offers schools and teachers a flexible approach to teaching and learning in the context of the junior cycle curriculum. 

The revised Programme Statement

The programme statement outlines the nature and content of the JCSP and the process of selecting students to participate in the programme. The emphasis on active learning and on the development of basic skills in the programme is highlighted. The key elements in organising the JCSP at school level are considered, including the importance of planning, the establishment of a staff team, and the role of the co-ordinator. The main features of the student profiling system are also outlined. Examples of good practice in schools are described in a range of case studies developed in collaboration with JCSP schools and teachers.

The revised JCSP Programme Statement.pdf (size 2.4 MB)

Image of updated JCSP Programme Statement

Where the Programme Statement will be used

The programme statement can be used in any educational setting. It is intended for use by school management, programme co-ordinators and teachers and should be accessible to a range of others directly involved with the students’ education, including parents, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs), Guidance Counsellors, and Home School Liaison co-ordinators.

Programme structure

At the core of the programme is a profiling system, which facilities teachers in monitoring and recording students’ progress and achievements. The profiling system comprises of a series of statements, each affirming what a student can do, knows or understands.

Statements may be subject-specific or cross-curricular in nature. Profiling statements are further broken down into learning targets. The learning targets provide realisable short-term manageable units of work, which encourage students to become more effectively involved in their own learning.

All the students in the programme must be entered for the Junior Certificate examination. Students follow the same courses as their peers in the examination subjects they have selected.On completion of the programme students receive an individual Student Profile which is a cumulative record of their achievements and is validated by the Department of Education and Science. This is in addition to any grades they achieve in the Junior Certificate examination. 

The NCCA is currently reviewing the JCSP as part of its general review of junior cycle.

Related links

JCSP Support Service
Junior Certificate