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Leaving Cert Reforms

    Leaving Cert Reforms

    On 29th March 2022, The Minister for Education Norma Foley announced plans for a reimagined Senior Cycle of education for post-primary students.

    The three tenets of Senior Cycle reform are to:

    • empower students to meet the challenges of the 21st century
    • enrich the student experience and build on what’s strong in our current system
    • embed wellbeing and reduce student stress levels

    This new approach aims to enable students to follow a broad curriculum, develop their interests and skills and participate in a final assessment process consistent with international best practice, which will support them in their next phase of life whether that’s third level, further education and training, apprenticeships or the world of work.

    The redeveloped Senior Cycle will include the development of new subjects and revised curricula for all existing subjects, which will be informed by the views of students and teachers in a co-creation process. These will include a significant emphasis on additional assessment components outside of the traditional final written exams.

    Minister Foley has set out a vision and programme of work which encompasses the following:

    • Introduction of new curricula for subjects across Senior Cycle, updating subject content
    • The introduction of new subjects, providing greater choice for students to better reflect their range of interests and support the development of a wider range of talents and skills. Two new subjects – Drama, Film and Theatre Studies; and Climate Action and Sustainable Development, will be ready for students in network schools starting fifth year in 2024
    • Changing the final assessment procedure to significantly reduce reliance on final examinations and introduce teacher-based assessment components
    • As Leaving Certificate subjects are revised they will have assessment components additional to the conventional written examination worth 40% of the total marks; with the written examination worth 60% of the final score
    • The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and SEC will jointly research and define, in consultation with education partners, how an SEC-externally moderated, school-based form of assessment would operate
    • The initial tranche of new and revised subjects will be available in September 2024, when students entering fifth year in network schools will study updated subject curricula, with updated assessment models in the optional subjects of Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Business
    • To ensure a positive impact on students as soon as possible, Leaving Certificate Established students entering Senior Cycle in September 2023 will sit Paper 1 in English and Irish at the end of fifth year
    • It is intended that into the future Oral examinations and the Music practical performance will take place during the first week of the Easter break of 6th year as is the case this year
    • To enhance students’ options further, Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) students will have improved access to Mathematics and Modern Foreign Languages from September 2022, broadening the options for LCA
    • A new qualification will be introduced at level one and two on the National Qualification framework to provide an appropriate level of assessment to some students with special educational needs, building on the equivalent programme at Junior Cycle level
    • A revised Transition Year programme will be established, and greater access to Transition Year for all students will be encouraged

    More details can be viewed on