Curriculum - Leaving Certificate
The Leaving Certificate Examinations is the final examination in our secondary school system. It takes a minimum of two years preparation, but an optional Transition Year means that for those students it takes place three years after the Junior Cycle Examination. These years are referred to collectively as "The Senior Cycle." Most students taking the examination are aged 16–20; in excess of eighty percent of this group undertake the exam. The Examination is overseen by the State Examinations Commission. The Leaving Certificate Examinations are taken annually by approximately 55,000 students.
There are three distinct programmes that can be followed each of which are offered at St. Bricins College. While the outcomes of each programme are quite distinct, each is intended to reinforce the principles of secondary education; to prepare the student for education, society and work.
Established Leaving Certificate: The Established Leaving Certificate, introduced in 1924, is the most common programme taken. A minimum of six subjects are examined, including compulsory Irish. Most students take seven subjects.
Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme: The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, introduced as a more practical "hands-on" complement to the conventional Leaving Certificate, is similar to the established programme. The student takes at least five traditional subjects, one of which must be Irish. Two of the student's subjects must be part of one of a list of Vocational subject groupings. They must also study a modern European language and two Link Modules, Preparation for the World of Work and Enterprise Education. The programme is designed to help the student find their potential for self-directed learning, innovation and enterprise.
Leaving Certificate Applied: The Leaving Certificate Applied, another variant of the traditional Leaving Certificate, is taken to prepare the student for adult and working life. It consists of three elements. These are General Education, Vocational Educationand Vocational Preparation. It is designed for those students who do not wish to proceed directly to third level education or for those whose needs, aspirations and aptitudes are not adequately catered for by the other two Leaving Certificate programmes. It is to emphasise areas of achievement and excellence which are not catered for by traditional academic programmes.
Each subject is examined at one of three levels, Higher Level Ordinary Level or Foundation Level. Foundation Level may only be taken in two subjects: Irish and Mathematics. Although English may be taken at Foundation Level for the Junior Cert, it is not offered at this level for the Leaving Cert. All other subjects may be taken at either Ordinary or Higher Level.
The points awarded for a given percentage range are given in the table below.
Maths Bonus Points
25 bonus points will be awarded for Higher Level Mathematics for H6 grades and above. For example, if an applicant receives a H6 grade an additional 25 points will be added to the 46 points already awarded for a H6 grade i.e. Higher Level Mathematics now carries a points score of 71 for this applicant.
Subjects are examined through a number of methods. These will include at least one written paper (English, Mathematics, Irish and some of the optional courses contain two written papers).
Language courses examine the students writing, conversation and listening skills. The spoken section of the exams ('oral') take place some months before the written exams, and the listening ('aurals') take place in the same weeks as the written.
A number of subjects in the sciences and arts include the keeping of records or creation of a physical object or project. This work is designed to provide tangible proof of the students abilities. However, not every book or project is examined, with inspectors being sent to a small few, randomly selected schools each year, or simply examining a small selection of projects from each class to check the standard. Some subjects such as Art and Technology involve a practical exam which is supervised by an external examiner. In the academic year of the written exam, all practical science subjects are partially examined by student assignments which involve stepping away from the books and getting students to put the theory they have learned into practice.
Subjects offered at St. Bricins College*
Art Craft & Design
Design, Communication & Graphics
*Every year the school runs an algorithm to ensure the majority of students get their preferred subjects as such not all subjects will run each year