Senior Cycle

Home / Curriculum / Senior Cycle

Senior Cycle (5th and 6th Year)

In North Monastery Secondary School our senior cycle education 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

Senior cycle is inclusive of all students and contributes to equality of opportunity, participation and outcome for all.

Single classes last for 40 minutes, which are student-centered and incorporate the latest teaching and learning strategies and learning technologies.

Many subjects have projects which are completed in either 5th or 6th Year and worth 20% (*) of the student’s total mark. You can view the full specifications for each subject by going to www.curriculumonline.ie.

Senior Cycle Skills

Throughout the two-year Leaving Cert course, students will focus on the following key skills Information Processing, Communicating, Critical and Creative Thinking, Working with Others, and Being Personally Effective. Students will obtain these skills through active learning within the classroom and through project work.

Core Subjects:

Gaeilge

Leaving Certificate Irish builds upon the language developed during Junior Cycle. All four language skills are further developed in order to enable the learner to take an active part in the bilingual society in which we live in today in Ireland. The learner is encouraged to develop and share her/his views on a range of topics. The learner is also prepared during Senior Cycle for further study in or through Irish.

Irish is assessed at three levels i.e. Foundation Level, Ordinary Level or Higher Level. The learner’s oral competency is assessed around Easter of the final year, in an oral examination worth 40%, at each level, of the overall mark, and the other three skills are assessed in June. Aspects of literary works must be studied at Ordinary Level while at Higher Level these same works and additional material must be studied in greater detail.

English

Leaving Certificate English invites students into rich experiences with language so that they become fluent and thoughtful users of it and more aware of its significance in their lives. It develops a range of literacy and oral skills in a variety of areas, personal, social, and cultural. Students develop a wide range of skills and concepts. These will allow them to interpret and enjoy a range of material so that they become independent learners who can operate independently in the world beyond the school.

Leaving Certificate English is assessed at two levels, Ordinary and Higher level.

Maths

Mathematics at Senior Cycle builds on the learning at Junior Cycle and develops mathematical knowledge, skills and understanding needed for continuing education, life and work. Through their study of mathematics, students develop a flexible, disciplined way of thinking which enables them to solve problems in mathematical and real-world contexts.

The syllabus is provided at three levels – Higher, Ordinary and Foundation level and is also assessed at these levels. There are two examination papers at each level.

French or Spanish

French and Spanish follow a common syllabus framework for the teaching and examining of modern languages in the Leaving Certificate. The syllabus aims to develop learners’ communicative skills in French and/or Spanish, to develop their strategies for effective language learning and raise their awareness of cultural, social, and political diversity.

Assessment is by means of a written examination, and an aural and oral examination at two levels, Ordinary level, and Higher level.

Optional Subjects

Geography (*)

Leaving Certificate geography will help students develop an understanding of the changing relationships between the physical and human worlds. Through their study of geography, students will develop geographical skills that will help them to make informed judgments about issues at local, national, and international levels.

Leaving Certificate geography may be studied at Ordinary or Higher level. The course is divided into core, elective and optional units of study. Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level. Students are expected to complete a report on a geographical investigation and to sit a written examination. Follow us on our twitter page.

History  (*)

Leaving Certificate history deals with the experience of human life in the past. The study of history involves an investigation of the surviving evidence relating to such experience. It brings students into contact with human experiences that are often very different from their own and fosters their developing understanding of the human condition and human motivation. Through its focus on the evaluation of evidence, it contributes significantly to the development of students’ skills of critical thinking. Through its focus on research, it allows students the opportunity to develop their skills of independent learning. Follow us on our twitter page.

History is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. There are two assessment components: a research study report (submitted prior to the examination) and a written examination.

Politics and Society (*)

Politics and Society aims to develop the learner’s capacity to engage in reflective and active citizenship, informed by the insights and skills of social and political sciences. The changing local, national and global environment presents many challenges and opportunities for young people. It also requires them a range of skills and knowledge, Politics and Society is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level, and Higher level. Through its focus on research, it allows students the opportunity to develop their skills of independent learning. Follow us on our twitter page.

There are two assessment components: a research citizenship report (submitted prior to the examination) and a written examination.

Art (*)

Art is both creative and expressive and it provides an opportunity for the development of the skills necessary for creative engagement with the world.
The specification sets out clear expectations for students, across three inter-related and inter-dependent strands: Research, Create and Respond.

There are two assessment components: presentation of artwork (submitted prior to the examination) and a written examination.

Music (*)

Leaving Certificate Music involves a series of interrelated musical activities within each of the three core areas of musical experience – performing, composing and listening. In performing, students choose from a variety of individual and/or group performing activities. In composing, students develop an understanding of musical structure and form, while the listening component provides for rich aural experiences through exposure to the music of different periods, styles, and genres.

This syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

Biology  (*)

Biology is the study of life. Through the study of biology students explore the diversity of life and the inter-relationships between organisms and their environment. They become aware of the use of living organisms and their products to enhance human health and the environment.

The Leaving Certificate Biology syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels. The biology syllabus is currently under review.

Chemistry

Leaving Certificate chemistry aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or a related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate.

This syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels.

Physics

Leaving Certificate Physics aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and their application to everyday life. It offers a general education in physics to all students, enabling them to develop an understanding of the scientific method and their ability to observe, to think logically and to communicate effectively. Science technology and society (STS) is an integral part of the syllabus so that students can be aware of the principles of the applications of physics in the everyday world.

This syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

Accounting

Leaving Certificate Accounting provides students with the knowledge, understanding, and skills in accounting and financial management necessary for managing personal and basic company accounts. The learning experiences in accounting develop students’ organisational, logical thinking, planning and problem-solving skills for their future life, work and study. It also develops their numeracy skills within the context of business and enterprise. The syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

Business

Business creates an awareness of the importance of business activity and develops a positive and ethical attitude towards enterprise. The learning experiences in business develop students’ critical thinking, creative and organisational skills while enhancing literacy and numeracy skills using real-life examples. Business provides students with a learning foundation for a wide range of careers in business, marketing, law, enterprise and management.

This syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels

Applied Maths

Leaving Certificate applied mathematics is a syllabus based on mathematical physics.  It is studied and assessed at Ordinary and Higher levels.

This subject is currently under review. This syllabus forms the basis of the applied mathematics course until further notice.

Construction Studies

Construction Studies provides students in the senior cycle of post-primary education with an introduction to the knowledge and skills involved in construction technology and construction materials and processes. Students develop their ability to communicate ideas and information and to apply accurate observation and scientific investigation through exploring materials and processes.

Construction studies is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of a written examination, a practical test, and an assessment of student project work.

Design and Communication Graphics (DCG)

DCG involves comprehending, analysing, and communicating information presented verbally or graphically. Problem-solving and creative thinking skills are developed through the analysis and solution of problems in both two and three dimensions of graphics. Graphics and design are communicated using a variety of media, including computer-aided design (CAD).  The main areas of study are: Plane and Descriptive Geometry, Communication of Design and Computer Graphics, and Applied Graphics.

Design and Communication Graphics is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of two assessment components: a student assignment, of which CAD forms a significant and compulsory element, and an examination paper.

Engineering

Engineering is the study of mechanical engineering for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education. Students develop the skills and initiative in the planning, development and realization of technological projects in a safe manner. Practical resourcefulness, creativity and design in the planning and development of technological projects are emphasised. There are two main areas of study: workshop processes, and materials and technology.

Engineering is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, by means of a written examination, a project and a practical examination.

Non-Examinable Subject(s)

Religious Education

Religious Educat8ion promotes tolerance and mutual understanding. It is a broad course that seeks to develop the skills needed to engage in meaningful dialogue with those of other or of no religious traditions.

Currently offered as a common level subject and is currently not an examinable subject in our school.

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE)

Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and understanding and of developing attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. RSE provides structured opportunities for our students to acquire a knowledge and understanding of human relationships and sexuality through processes that will enable them to form values and establish behaviours within a moral, spiritual and social framework.

Physical Education (PE)

Physical Education in senior cycle aims to develop the learner’s capacity to participate in physical education and physical activity in a confident and informed way. As a result of their learning in physical education, young people can increase their enjoyment, confidence and competence in a range of physical activities. We hope to offer PE as an examinable subject in the near future.

More information: www.ncca.ie/en/seniorcycle