The post-primary school year generally runs from the first week in September to the first week in June but some schools are open in August. The State Examinations are sat during the month of June.
At post-primary level there are two cycles: the junior cycle which ends with the Junior Certificate examinations and the senior cycle which ends with the Leaving Certificate examinations. Generally students take 8 or 9 subjects for the Junior Certificate examinations and 6 or 7 subjects for the Leaving Certificate examinations. Core subjects include: Mathematics, Irish and English. Students sit the examinations at either Higher Level or Ordinary Level. Irish and Mathematics can also be studied at Foundation Level. This level is for students who have difficulty with these subjects.
There are three options in the Leaving Certificate programme:
1. The Established Leaving Certificate Programme which is the most widely taken programme
2. The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) which is similar to the Established Programme with added vocational content and technical subjects
3. The Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) is a programme consisting of practical projects and portfolio work.
Some post-primary schools also offer the Transition Year programme between the junior cycle and senior cycle.
Youthreach is an essential part of the national programme of second-chance education and training in Ireland. It is directed at unemployed young early school leavers between 15 and 20 years of age. For more information go to: www.youthreach.ie