Junior Cycle

In Ardscoil Rís, under the new Junior Cycle Curriculum, students are engaged in a skills based approach to learning. The key skills are: being literate, managing myself, staying well, managing information and thinking, being numerate, being creative, working with others and communicating. Working with digital technology also forms part of each of the skills.

Ardscoil Rís offers a variety of subjects whereby students can enhance their key skills across this new model, which focuses strongly on their overall development and wellbeing. We believe that this model also sits well with the values and holistic approach Edmund Rice schools take to student development. Parents can read more about the new curriculum here.

The following subjects are taught to all students as part of the curriculum. Please see the drop-down box for more information on each subject.

Core Subjects

  • Gaeilge/Irish

    Gaeilge in Ardscoil Rís is taught to all students of all abilities from 1st year to 3rd year. Taught at both Higher level and Ordinary level right up to Junior and Leaving Certificate. Upon arriving in Ardscoil Rís Irish classes will be taught at common level in their base classes and will act as a core subject in the Junior Cycle. In 2nd and 3rd year classes are reorganised based on level. There are many components to the Irish course which allow for a variety of experience and exposure to all aspects of this modernised language:

    ● Filíocht/Poetry: Students will be exposed to 5 poems of varying subject nature, themes and messages. They will answer on poetry in most in-house (school) and state exams.
    ● Gearrscéal/Short stories: 2 recently published short stories will be taught to your son in 2nd and 3rd year. The study of these very different texts will allow the student to compare and experience the modernity and diversity of topics that are at play in the Irish language today.
    ● Dráma/Play: A play will be taught and will allow students to show their more creative side by playing an active role in both play structure and identifying the differences that lie in this style of text.
    ● Léamhthuiscint/Reading Comprehension: A key component from 1st to 6th year will be reading comprehension exercises. Reading about current affairs, newspaper articles and people of history through the medium of Irish will not only broaden their understanding of the language but also the rest of the world.
    ● Cluaistrial – Listening Comprehension: Being a language that is spoken all over the country of Ireland and in different dialects, exposure to accents and a different way of saying things will be enjoyed and experienced.
    ● Úrscéal/Novel – (Higher Level only) A more in depth look at a text, of the students choice, will take place at the end of 2nd year/start of 3rd year. With a larger body of text, a more accurate character , plot and motive development can be learned that will allow for cross curricular links with English and other Junior Cycle subjects.

    In 3rd year there are two Classroom-Based Assessments in Irish. These CBAs relate to students’ ongoing learning and understanding in both learning portfolio work and knowledge of the language learned in both 2nd and 3rd year.

    CBA1 (Tasc Macnamh) is a portfolio/learning journal reflection piece where a student will pick 1 digital piece, 1 piece of their own work and another piece of their own individual work. Reflections are written on each of these.

    CBA2 (Tasc Cumarsáide) is an oral communications project. Students will present as an individual or as a group on a topic of their choice. A reflection will be written shortly after this presentation in class. Following the second of these assessments students will complete an Assessment Task (AT) which is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking and relates directly to the CBA2. The final assessment in June of 3rd year accounts for 90% of the overall assessment grade.

  • English

    In Ardscoil Rís we strive to develop student’s literacy skills through critical thinking and personal engagement with the English curriculum. A broad range of texts including spoken, visual and written are studied throughout the three year Junior Cycle course to allow students develop their knowledge of language and literature. As student’s skills in using language evolve, so too do their communication skills which helps to promote their personal growth and aid in effective participation in society.

    Throughout the Junior Cycle English course students will engage with the following aspects of the curriculum:
    1. A minimum of three novels
    2. One Shakespearean play
    3. One other drama piece
    4. A minimum of sixteen poems
    5. A variety of non literary texts
    6. One film
    7. Creative writing pieces
    8. Functional writing pieces

    In relation to assessment methods, Ardscoil Ris employs a range of teaching methodologies and assessment approaches to ensure all students can access the curriculum to the best of their ability.

    There are two Classroom-Based Assessments in English. These CBAs relate to students’ reading, writing, and oral work and occur during 2nd and 3rd year. CBA1 is an oral communication and CBA2 is a collection of students’ work in their ‘Collection of Texts’ which they compile throughout the course. Following the second of these assessments students will complete an Assessment Task (AT) which is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking and relates directly to the CBA2. The final assessment in June of 3rd year accounts for 90% of the overall assessment grade.

  • Maths

    Aims of Junior Cycle Maths in Ardscoil Rís:

    ● Comprehension of mathematical concepts.

    ● Practice carrying out procedures.

    ● Ability to formulate and solve mathematical problems in varied contexts.

    ● Develop logical thought, explanation,and justification.

    ● See maths as useful in the modern world.

    The specification for Junior Cycle Mathematics focuses on developing students’ ability to think logically, strategically, critically, and creatively through the Unifying Strand and the four contextual strands: Number; Geometry and Trigonometry; Algebra and Functions; and Statistics and Probability.

    The assessment of Junior Cycle Mathematics for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise of two Classroom-Based Assessments: CBA 1; and CBA 2 and a written Assessment Task. The Assessment task is associated with CBA 2 and is marked, along with a final examination, by the State Examinations Commission.

    Mathematical investigation
    In second and third year students will over a three- week period follow the statistical enquiry cycle or the problem-solving cycle to investigate a mathematical problem to carry out their CBAs.

    On completion of the second Classroom-Based Assessment in third year, students will undertake an Assessment Task related to their CBA which will be marked by the State Examinations Commission. The Assessment Task will assess students in aspects of their experience.

    Final examination
    There will be two examination papers, one at Ordinary and one at Higher level, set and marked by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). The examination will be two hours in duration and will take place in June of third year.

  • Religious Education

    In Ardscoil Rís we follow the new Junior Cycle Religious Education Specification. Currently we use “Inspire” by Educate.ie for the three year course leading to a final examination in the Junior Certificate State exam. Included in this is a CBA (classroom based assessment) presented for the final assessment at the end of third year. In this way, learning in RE will be certified as part of each students Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA)

    Ardscoil Ris aims to provide an holistic education that is driven and inspired by the Catholic ethos and the vision of its founder Blessed Edmund Rice.

    Through our Religious Education programme we aim to develop knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values to enable our young people to come to an understanding of religion and its relevance to life, relationships, society and the wider world.

    We do this by stimulating our students’ curiosity and prompting their engagement with a topic or question. For the purpose of discovery and exploration we encourage questioning, probing, discussing, listening, imagining, interpreting and drawing conclusions. A key skill that is encouraged is Reflection. This helps our students to examine what they have learned in order to gain a deeper insight and understanding.

    The course offers not only a deeper understanding of our Christian tradition which encourages justice, hope, love, forgiveness, friendship, humility, generosity, respect, courage, compassion, peace, creativity, trust and service. The purpose is not about bringing other faiths into the Christian tradition. It is about how our tradition and each student is going to be enriched by interaction between different faiths. In this we also cover other world religions and belief systems. Students of different faiths will also be encouraged to grow and develop in their own faith tradition and the course provides a positive platform for interfaith dialogue, participation and inclusion.

  • PE & Wellbeing

    The aim of Junior Cycle Physical Education (JCPE) is to develop students as knowledgeable, skillful and creative participants who are confident and competent to perform a range of activities safely. The course aims to build students’ appreciation of the importance of health-enhancing and inclusive physical activity and a commitment to it now, and in the future.

    Overview – Course

    Strand 1 – Physical activity for health and wellbeing
    This strand aims to build students’ understanding and commitment to regular health-enhancing physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Students apply their learning as they design, implement and evaluate their own physical activity programme.

    Strand 2 – Games
    The strand focuses on building students’ competence and confidence in two of the following games categories: divided court, invasion and striking and fielding games. Students learn how to develop a range of transferable movement skills and competencies and the ways in which these can be used within and across the different games categories.

    Strand 3 – Individual and team challenges
    This strand focuses on building students’ competence and confidence in two of the following physical activity areas: orienteering and team challenges, aquatics and athletics. Students are encouraged to set challenging goals for themselves individually and/or as part of a team and to reflect on the experience and progress made. In this strand, schools may choose an adventure activity other than orienteering if their location facilitates this choice.

    Strand 4 – Dance and gymnastics
    This strand aims to build students’ competency in and understanding of artistic and aesthetic movement, as they create and perform in a group for an audience in either dance or gymnastics. The process of creating the dance of gymnastic movement sequence is seen as being equally important as the final performance.

  • Geography

    Geography is the study of the Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places, and environments. Engagement with the subject promotes a deep understanding of people and place.

    Through the study of geography, people are encouraged to appreciate the processes that shape their world and view global issues as ethical citizens. Students are growing up in a globalised, dynamic world and Geography provides a medium to explore current events in our world. Students viewing events through a geographical lens are well placed to be part of a generation which can deal effectively with, and mitigate global challenges and rise to related opportunities.

    The skills developed through the subject are transferable and will benefit students in study and life.

    There are two Classroom-Based Assessments in Geography. They are undertaken by students within class contact time. Following the second of these assessments, students will complete an Assessment Task which is marked by the State Examinations Commission as part of the state-certified examination in Geography.

    The First CBA is for completion in term two of second year. ‘’Geography in the news’’ is a structured inquiry through a response to a recent geographical event. Project may be presented in a wide range of formats. Can be done Individually or as part of a group. At the end of a three week period students will report on their inquiry, based on a recent media source, relating to a geographical event.

    In term one of third year ‘My Geography’ is a structured inquiry into a geographical aspect in a local area. Similarly to CBA, the project may be presented in a wide range of formats. Can be done Individually or as part of a group. Students will, over a three-week period, investigate geographical aspects in a local area in the First term of Year 3.

    The Assessment Task is a written task completed by students during class time. It is not marked by the class teacher, but is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking as part of the state certified examination in Geography. This Assessment Task is related to the learning on which the second Classroom-Based Assessment was based. In the case of Geography, this will be ‘’My Geography’’.

  • History

    In Ardscoil Rís we aim to develop the interest of students in the past. We hope to enable students to investigate the actions of societies in the past and identify how those actions have shaped the modern world. We want to enable students to recognise the skills of the historian, the importance of evidence, and the ability to scrutinise evidence objectively. We hope to help students to identify key changes in the past, to explore culture and ideas from history.

    The course is divided into three strands:
    ● Ireland
    ● Europe
    ● The wider world
    ● The nature of history as a discipline.

    CBA 1 The Past Is My Place involves a presentation that focuses on the locality or family history of the students.

    CBA 2 A Life In Time is a presentation based on the life of a person of historical interest.

    Both CBA’s help students develop many of the key skills of the historian: research, interrogation of sources, making judgements based on their research.
    There will be an assessment based on the CBA 2 administered by the SEC, and a State run final examination at common level at the end of third year.

  • Science

    In Science students gain an appreciation of underlying reasons and explanations for common observations in their everyday lives. Through investigations,experimentations and project based research they develop the skills required to become competent in the Scientific Method. The key areas of study are centered around five curricular units:
    ● The World of Science
    ● Physics
    ● Chemistry
    ● Biology
    ● Earth & Space Studies.

    During their three years students are required to submit two CBA’s for assessment. One is based on a practical area of scientific experimentation and the other on researching an area of scientific interest. Both projects are student driven and teachers are available to furnish the students with any materials or resources required to facilitate their studies.

    In class students may undertake experimentation individually or in small groups. Classes may be taught, experimental or researched depending on the topic and are always started by identifying key concepts and learning targets and the relevance to everyday life.

    The following subjects are our Choice Subjects. Students chose one language and a combination of two other subjects with limited places in both Materials Technology Wood and Technical Graphics.

Choice Subjects

  • Modern Foreign Languages (French & Spanish)

    As a department and in line with the specifications for Junior Cycle, we aim “to enable students to explore the interdependence between language and culture, to develop their appreciation of the relevance of languages to their lives for personal, social, educational, vocational and leisure purposes, and to derive enjoyment from language learning.” (curriculumonline.ie)

    The Ardscoil Rís MFL Department at Junior Cycle aims are outlined below:
    ● engage in language activities and tasks, developing the capacity to understand written and spoken language
    ● communicate effectively and confidently in the target language in familiar contexts through a range of media
    ● develop their capacity to use appropriate structures and vocabulary for the purposes of communication, both written and oral
    ● enjoy a language-learning experience that will facilitate and encourage them to continue learning languages in future
    ● be reflective and autonomous in their language learning, and become actively involved in monitoring and assessing their progress
    ● appreciate their own and other cultures
    ● develop skills that they can apply to other areas of study and to their lives
    ● The outcomes of Junior Cycle MFL are divided into 3 strands:

    Strand 1 Communicative Competence
    Strand 2 Language Awareness
    Strand 3 Socio-cultural knowledge and inter-cultural awareness

    ● The 1st year textbook used for French is ‘Ça Roule! 1’ by Edco (textbook and workbook) and in 2nd and 3rd year ‘Ça Roule 2!’ by Edco (textbook and workbook).
    ● The 1st year textbook used for Spanish is ‘Qué Pasa 1’ by Edco (textbook and workbook) and in 2nd and 3rd year year ‘Qué Pasa 2’ by Edco (textbook and workbook).
    ● MFL department endeavours to create a ‘food day’ once yearly, whereby students are encouraged to bring in authentic cuisine of the country. A pop-up canteen, run by Transition Years, is opened to the school, so all can sample the food, thus spreading socio-cultural awareness throughout the school environment.


    CBA1: Oral Communication
    ● Towards the end of second year, over a period of 3 weeks, students in consultation with their teacher, prepare a role-play, interview, or presentation (followed by Q&A session) or a conversation in response to stimulus material.
    ● Students can be in pairs or small groups.
    ● The purpose of this Classroom-Based Assessment is for the student to demonstrate the skills of oral production and oral interaction. Other skills may be developed, e.g. reading, writing, listening, basic research.
    ● Students will focus on an aspect of the target language country(ies) or culture; or on a simulation of an experience in a target language country; or on a topic or stimulus of interest.
    ● Expectations of the standard they achieve will be at a level appropriate to their age and experience at that stage in their language learning in junior cycle.
    ● This assessment is summative with formative value: the CBAs are recorded, a SLAR is held with at least one other MFL teacher, and one of the 4 descriptors is given: Exceptional, above expectations, in line with expectations & yet to meet expectations.
    ● This descriptor will be stated on the student’s Junior Cert Profile of Achievement.

    CBA 2: Student Language Portfolio
    ● The student language portfolio will include a broad range of items, such as written texts, projects, audio-visual materials, learning logs, student reflections and learning goals.
    ● The student’s created texts may be presented in different formats—handwritten, digital, multi-modal, and so on. Students learn a lot from the process of language acquisition when they are taught how to use a portfolio to document and reflect on their learning.
    ● This portfolio, arising from normal classwork, is built up from first year, however only texts from second and third year can be used for the portfolio.
    ● 3 texts, which represent your best work must be included in the portfolio (students may consult with the teacher as to which items represent best work.)
    ● At least one text must be oral (audio or video)
    ● At least one text must show some awareness of the culture or country/countries of the language you are learning (spoken or a written)
    ● A Student Reflection Note must be included with each of the three texts.
    ● Expectations of the standard they achieve will be at a level appropriate to their age and experience at that stage in their language learning in junior cycle.
    ● This assessment is summative with formative value: the CBAs are recorded, a SLAR is held with at least one other MFL teacher, and one of the 4 descriptors is given: Exceptional, above expectations, in line with expectations & yet to meet expectations.
    ● This descriptor will be stated on the student’s Junior Cert Profile of Achievement.

    The Assessment Task
    ● Students undertake a written Assessment Task to be submitted to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for marking as part of the state-certified examination for Modern Foreign Languages.
    ● The Assessment Task will be allocated 10% of the marks used to determine the overall grade.
    ● The Assessment Task is directly related to the second Classroom-Based Assessment, the Student Language Portfolio, which mainly assesses the following learning outcomes: Communicative competence Language awareness Socio-cultural knowledge and intercultural awareness.
    ● The Assessment Task for Modern Foreign Languages will be undertaken following the completion of the second Classroom-Based Assessment. Schools will have some flexibility in choosing the two class periods for completion, with a period of one week being identified during which the Assessment Task must be undertaken by students
    ● The Assessment Task is offered at a common level
    ● It consists of two stages: firstly, engaging with a piece of stimulus material to prepare for the written task; and secondly, reflecting upon and writing about their experiences as language learners.

    Junior Cycle Exam
    ● Students sit a Junior Cycle Common level paper in June at the end of the 3 years, which accounts for 90% of the overall mark.
    ● The exam will assess the 3 learning outcomes of Junior Cert MFL: communicative competence, language awareness and socio-cultural knowledge and inter-cultural awareness.
    ● The paper is broken down as follows:
    Listening 140 marks
    Reading 140 marks
    Writing 80 marks
    Total 360 marks

  • Business

    Through the course we aim to get students thinking about the business environment and how they interact with it. During the three year cycle, students will develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours which will allow them to make informed and responsible decisions throughout their lives with all of the resources available to them.

    There are three main elements to the Business Studies course which focus on improving student’s understanding of business environments and aid them in developing lifelong skills for their future. These are interconnected and studied together throughout the course.

    ● Personal Finance allows students to develop skills and knowledge that can be used to make informed decisions about their own personal financial affairs. By developing these skills students can make responsible and effective business decisions.
    ● Enterprise is a module in the course that allows students to identify opportunities and turn them into practical and targeted activities within business and wider society. It helps to develop students’ understanding of the marketing, financial and operational functions of an organisation.
    ● Our Economy develops students’ ability to identify and understand basic economic concepts as they relate to personal finance, enterprise and the Irish economy. It examines topical issues through a business lens and students enjoy the opportunity to question economic decisions and learn how areas such as Ireland and the EU are run.

    There are two Classroom-Based Assessments in Business Studies These CBAs relate to students’ understanding and knowledge of practical business approaches and how to put these into action and occur during 2nd and 3rd year.

    CBA1 is a group or individual project in relation to Enterprise in Action and CBA2 is an oral communications piece. Following the second of these assessments students will complete an Assessment Task (AT) which is sent to the State Examinations Commission for marking and relates directly to the CBA2. The final assessment in June of 3rd year accounts for 90% of the overall assessment grade.

  • Wood Technology

    In Ardscoil Rís, Wood Technology is a subject that will allow students to explore and learn about a key natural resource that nature has provided. Trees and wooden material have a unique relationship with nature and humankind. The sustainable use and management of this natural resource is important as the world faces the challenges of the 21st century. From habitats to construction or recreation to oxygen creation, this resource can play a significant role in the well-being of our planet. To this end it is important that students be given the opportunity to become knowledgeable about this resource, exploring its heritage and potential as a material for the future.

    During the time spent in class, students will explore the natural and made world through the medium of design, seeking out opportunities to creatively and innovatively apply the material/resource in making and shaping their environment. With the uniqueness of this material, students will develop key hand craft skills where traditional applications and processes are still of value, transcending the test of time. Wood as a material resource has seen much innovation and change. Technological advances have created significant opportunities to expand the use of wood as a resource for a broad range of applications.

    Pupils complete 2 classroom based assessments, one in 2nd Year and the second in 3rd Year.

    CBA 1: Wood Science in our Environment. This focuses students to investigate a wood -science related issue within a local /global context.

    CBA 2: Student Self-analysis and evaluation. Students will conduct an analysis of the practical work completed during their two previous years of the subject.
    After completing CBA 2, students will complete a project along with an end of year written examination marked by the State Examinations Commission. The subject is examined at a common level in the examination.

  • Music

    “Music is the manifestation of the human spirit, similar to language. Its greatest practitioners have conveyed to mankind things not possible to say in any other language. If we do not want these things to remain dead treasures, we must do our utmost to make the greatest possible number of people understand their idiom.” – Zoltan Kodaly

    Ardscoil Rís music courses integrate performing, listening and composing activities. Our aim is to develop our students’ musical skills and broaden their musical knowledge in order to nurture a lifelong appreciation of music. Through participation and observation, they experience many musical genres including Classical, Traditional Irish, Jazz, Pop and Religious. Co-curricular links are fostered with other subject departments and many opportunities are provided for both solo and group performance, particularly at the school’s annual liturgical events. Senior Cycle students also learn music technology. Ardscoil Rís students may choose music as an exam subject. It is not necessary for students to play a musical instrument, if they have a good singing voice.

    Carol Service
    The school choir rehearses for the annual Carol Service, under the baton of Mrs Kelly and Ms Farrelly. It takes place in late December every year in Marino Church. All welcome.

    Ardscoil Ris students enjoy the liturgical music event in the Helix Theatre. Talented students get to play with the Helix Band and accomplished singers get to perform solo in the auditorium.

    Senior and Junior students get to compete in our music talent competition that is held one every two years. The excellent talent of some of our students is a wonderful experience at this competition.

    Some of our past winners are Fleadh Ceoil winners, in the Garda band, Army band and with bands that are world renowned, have careers on the West End and solo careers.

    NCCA Specification for JC Music (click on link)

  • Technical Graphics

    We are all familiar with talking, reading, writing and listening as forms of communication. Graphics is another way to communicate. It is especially useful in conveying ideas relating to design, building, engineering and creativity. It is sometimes described as a universal language because it uses a system of drawing that is easily understood in all countries. Graphics is used in every aspect of our daily lives. We live in houses and drive cars, build magnificent bridges. We see road signs, car logos, packaging on a daily basis. All these start with an idea which is then drawn on a paper and gradually evolves into a completed design.

    In school pupils learn basic graphic skills to interpret and create drawings using instruments. It differs from art because the primary focus in graphics is using drawing instruments to complete both 2 and 3 dimensional drawings associated with technology and design. Freehand sketching of structures is also an important element of the course at Junior Certificate Level. We have the latest computer aided design (CAD) software in the school and all pupils will have the opportunity to engage with this technology to generate drawings and develop their design skills. Graphics at Junior Cycle supports other Technology related subjects on the syllabus and also benefits pupils studying Maths, Science and Art. Graphics leads on to Design and Communication Graphics at Leaving Certificate level where these skills are further developed.

    Pupils complete two classroom based assessments in the Junior Cycle Programme. The Junior Certificate Examination includes a Graphics Project which is completed in 3rd year in the school. This measures a range of skills including the ability to use drawing instruments, sketching and computer aided design to generate both 2 and 3 dimensional drawings. The subject is examined at a common level in the examination.