Junior Cycle Research Study

The Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) has informed teaching, learning, assessment and reporting in post-primary schools for a number of years. A research study examining schools’ experiences of working with the framework is now taking place.  

Following a competitive tender process, a research team from the School of Education at the University of Limerick was commissioned by NCCA to carry out this mixed methods, multi-dimensional research study on the implementation and impact of the introduction of the Framework for Junior Cycle in schools. 

The study provides an exciting opportunity to learn more about the experience of junior cycle change in schools and to gain insights into the impact of the introduction of a new curriculum framework.

The second interim report in this series of research reports is available. This second interim report provides further insights into schools’ experiences of working with the Framework since its introduction in 2015.

The first in this series of reports is published. It is important to note that the insights and issues raised in this report are some initial perspectives captured at the early stage of this ongoing study, and should be considered within this context.


The research study has three guiding principles: 

  • Independence: the research is conducted by independent researchers with a moral commitment to freedom of scholarly inquiry and debate.
  • Voice: the research seeks to give voice to teachers, students, and school communities, including parents.
  • Responsiveness and sensitivity to context: drawing on experiences of working with schools, the research team will respond to the needs and changing circumstances of schools.

There are three dimensions to the research study.

Dimension one consists of interviews with representatives of stakeholder bodies and agencies.

Dimension two will explore curriculum planning, teaching, learning, assessment and reporting practices in a representative sample of 100 schools, via structured interviews with school principals and an online teacher survey in years two and three of the study. 

Dimension three will consist of case studies of 12 schools, via site visits in years two and four of the study.

The research team will publish interim thematic reports at key points during the study, which runs from 2020 to 2024.