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An Chomhairle Náisiúnta Curaclaim agus Measúnachta
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

Information for schools

  • Collaborating schools

    The selection process was supported by the following management bodies: 

    • Joint Managerial Body (JMB)
    • Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS)
    • National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education (NABMSE)
    • Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI)

    Using the selection criteria identified below, and in keeping with national statistics related to these criteria, the initial list of schools was considered, and a final 41 schools were selected.  The selection criteria used to ensure as representative a spread as possible was:

    • DEIS status
    • Gender
    • School type
    • School size
    • Geographical location
    • Language of instruction.

    The tables below set out the profile of schools included in the representative sample, and where possible compare the figures for the sample to available national statistics.  

      

    Secondary 

    ETB  

    C and C  

    Special 

    DEIS  

    National % 

    54 

    34 

    12 

      

    29

    % of 40 selected schools 

    53.6 

    29 

    12 

    4.8 

    29 

    Number of selected schools 

    22 

    12 

    12 

      

      

    Mixed  

    Boys  

    Girls  

    Gaeilge 

    National % 

    67 

    14 

    19 

    6.7 

    % of 40 selected schools 

    61 

    17 

    21 

    9.7 

    Number of selected schools 

    25 

      

    Dublin  

    Non-Dublin 

    13 schools 

    28 schools 

    31%  

    69%  

    School 

    Address 

    County 

    Alexandra College 

    Milltown 

    Dublin 

    Ardscoil Rís 

    North Circular Road 

    Limerick 

    Athlone Community College 

    Athlone 

    Westmeath 

    Athy College 

    Athy 

    Kildare 

    Ballincollig Community School 

    Balincollig 

    Cork 

    Beech Hill College 

    Tirkeenan 

    Monaghan 

    Catherine McAuley School 

    South Circular Road  

    Limerick 

    CBS Synge Street 

    Synge Street  

    Dublin 

    Coláiste Chroí Mhuire 

    An Spidéal 

    Galway 

    Coláiste Éinne 

    Inis Mór, Árainn, 

    Galway 

    Crana College 

    Buncrana 

    Donegal 

    Cross and Passion College 

    Kilcullen 

    Kildare  

    Dunshaughlin Community College 

    Dunshaughlin 

    Meath 

    Fingal Community College 

    Swords 

    Dublin 

    Gaelcholaiste Ceatharlach 

    Askea 

    Carlow 

    Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin 

    Carrigaline 

    Cork 

    Good Counsel College 

    New Ross 

    Wexford 

    Holy Family School 

    Cootehill 

    Cavan  

    Killarney Community School 

    Killarney 

    Kerry 

    Loreto Abbey 

    Dalkey 

    Dublin  

    Loreto Secondary School 

    Balbriggan 

    Dublin 

    Mercy College

    Coolock

    Dublin

    Mount St. Michael 

    Claremorris 

    Mayo  

    Mount Temple Comprehensive 

    Clontarf 

    Dublin 

    North Wicklow Educate Together 

    Bray 

    Wicklow  

    Portmarnock Community School 

    Portmarnock 

    Dublin 

    Presentation Secondary School 

    Warrenmount 

    Dublin 

    Ringsend College 

    Ringsend 

    Dublin 

    St. Angela’s Secondary 

    Ballytruckle 

    Waterford   

    St. Brendan’s College 

    Killarney 

    Kerry 

    St. Joseph’s Secondary School 

    Drogheda 

    Louth 

    St. Joseph’s Secondary School 

    Rush 

    Dublin 

    St. Louis Community School 

    Claremorris 

    Mayo  

    St. Mark’s Community School 

    Tallaght 

    Dublin 

    St. Mary’s Academy CBS 

    Rathnapish 

    Carlow 

    St. Mary’s Secondary School 

    Portlaoise 

    Laois 

    St. Vincent’s Secondary School 

    Dundalk 

    Louth  

    Stepaside Educate Together School  

    Stepaside  

    Dublin 

    Scoil Iosaf 

    Tulla 

    Clare 

    Scoil Ruain 

    Thurles 

    Tipperary  

    Ursuline College 

    Sligo  

    Sligo  

  • Get involved

    In addition to the work being carried out by the 41 collaborating schools, NCCA would welcome and greatly appreciate wider involvement of schools, or others,  in the review of senior cycle. This may take the form of:  

    • sharing/disseminating any information on the review 
    • facilitating discussions among staff/parents/students to provide us with feedback
    • participating in the final consultation in March-May, 2019.

     

    If you or your school would like to participate in some or all of the review, please access the school, parent and student questionnaires for each cycle under the tabs for cycle one and cycle two below. In the first cycle we are asking schools to discuss the purpose of senior cycle and in cycle two we are asking schools to focus on pathways and flexibility. You may wish to collate the views of your staff and submit the document to seniorcycle@ncca.ie.

    Please note the closing dates for the submissions for cycle one is October 12th, 2018 and cycle two is January 8th, 2019.

    To aid your discussions, any material produced to support the review for the collaborating schools will be available here on the website under the 'Materials to support the review' tab below. This material includes some research reports that may help to inform discussion on the research questions.

    The overview reports for each cycle will be published online and a final overview report will be available for public consultation from March to May 2019. Further detail about this consultation process will be published as it becomes available.

     

    If you have any other queries or would like to learn more about how you can have your say, please contact us at seniorcycle@ncca.ie.

     

  • Key dates for schools
  • Materials to support the review
    • Supporting student voices

      Student voice is central to the senior cycle review. In order to facilitate the inclusion of student voice, the following guide to the student voice process and student voice questions have been developed to support schools involved in the review.

      Guide to facilitating the student voice process

      School-based review student voice questions

    • Supporting school-wide discussion

      In cycle one of the review, the focus of the questions is on the purpose of senior cycle education and futures thinking.

      The following document outlines the questions for cycle one for schools and also includes prompts and links to research reports that may prove useful in initiating discussion. The powerpoint presentation may be useful in presenting the questions to staff.

       

    • Supporting parental voice

      As key stakeholders in the school community, parents are asked to have a role in the review of senior cycle. The following materials may assist schools and parents in getting involved in the review.

    • Research to Support Cycle 1

      Research to support cycle one 

      The following research reports and articles may be useful in discussions on some of the issues raised in cycle one.

      Challenges for senior cycle 

      Much of the research carried out regarding senior cycle focuses on the challenges facing students at this level. Stress and anxiety have been highlighted as key difficulties facing students as they reach the end of second level. Some research points to the high-stakes nature of the assessment as one of the key factors influencing stress levels of students, but the same research also points to student-teacher interactions, peer relations, programme choice and subject options as key indicators of stress. 

      This study (Baird, Hofenbeck, Elwood, Caro & Ahmed, 2014) outlines the differing experiences of the Leaving Certificate for teachers and students. Whereas teachers’ experiences were bound by their subject area, students experience an extensive range of demands across their subjects. It is concluded that this tension within subjects and across subjects causes the narrowing of the curriculum and allows teaching to the test to flourish. 

      This study outlines some of the backwash effects of the CAO points on the teaching and learning at secondary level. The narrowing of the curriculum and the conflation of the experience of senior cycle with the results, and points, received in the examination has also resulted in a student cohort who are unprepared for higher education. The system is also accused of failing to foster problem solving and independent learning.

      Looking to other jurisdictions 

      Research into the provision of upper secondary education across a range of jurisdictions reveals certain similarities in terms of the aims and purposes of this stage of education. In France, through the three pathways available (general, technological and professional) upper secondary education aims to respond to students’ individual talents and so enable them to fulfil their potential. 

      In Finland, the aim of this stage of education is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for further study and working life, but also aims to enable students to benefit from lifelong learning and take a democratic, responsible and active role as part of a local, national, European and global community.  

      Looking toward the future 

      Across a range of jurisdictions there are a number of key skills that curricula aim to embed at this stage of education. The OECD identifies three main challenges for society (economic, social and environmental). In order to address these challenges students will require a broader set of skills, attitudes and competences including: cognitive and meta-cognitive skills; social and emotional skills; practical and physical skills. 

      The World Economic Forum has examined trends in the evolution of the workforce and, given the changing nature of the workforce, has indicated that the ability to effectively retrain and upskill for a varied and changing work life will be one of the key contributors to successful employment.

  • Consultation: Cycle 1
  • Consultation: Cycle 2

    In cycle one of the review, the questions focused on the broad purposes of this stage of education. We asked questions about the benefits and challenges of senior cycle in schools. We now want to delve into the aspects of the programmes offered in our schools that we can learn from in this review of senior cycle. We also want to look further afield, explore some other ways of structuring senior cycle.

    The following may be useful in exploring these issues:

    ERC research on Transition Year

    ESRI research on Leaving Certificate Applied

    Cycle Two Questions for Schools

    Cycle Two Questions for Parents

    School answer template

    Parent answer template