An introduction to Irish Education
Children from 5-12 yrs (typically) enter into primary education for 8 years. The curriculum is presented in seven areas, some of which are further subdivided into subjects. These are:
- Language: Gaeilge (Irish) and English
- Social, environmental and scientific education (SESE): history, geography and science
- Arts education: visual arts, music and drama
- Physical education
- Social, personal and health education (SPHE)
- Religious or ethical education is the responsibility of the different school patron bodies.
Children from about 12 to 18 years attend a post-primary school. Post-primary education consists of a 3-year junior cycle, followed by a two or three year senior cycle, depending on whether the optional transition year is taken.
The junior-cycle caters for students in the 12 to 15 year age group. Students participate in core subjects: English, Mathematics, Irish, History, Geography and Physical Education. They then typically choose four other subject from a long list including; Science, Art, Music, Languages, Business, Graphics, Home Economics, Religious Education. The Junior Cycle examination is held at the end of the junior cycle in post-primary schools.
The senior-cycle caters for students in the 15 to 18 year age group. It includes an optional transition year (TY) which follows immediately after the Junior Cycle. TY provides an opportunity for students to experience a wide range of educational inputs, including work experience, over the course of a year that is free from formal examinations.
After TY, students participate in three core subjects (English Mathematics and Irish) and usually four optional subjects (see list of subjects). Subjects are assessed by an examination paper and by additional assessment methods including oral and aural examinations, practical examinations and assessment of practical coursework at the end of the two-year programme of study.