The selection process was supported by the following management bodies:
- Joint Managerial Body (JMB)
- Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools (ACCS)
- National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education (NABMSE)
- Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI)
Using the selection criteria identified below, and in keeping with national statistics related to these criteria, the initial list of schools was considered, and a final 41 schools were selected. The selection criteria used to ensure as representative a spread as possible was:
- DEIS status
- School type
- School size
- Geographical location
- Language of instruction.
The tables below set out the profile of schools included in the representative sample, and where possible compare the figures for the sample to available national statistics.
C and C
% of 40 selected schools
Number of selected schools
% of 40 selected schools
Number of selected schools
North Circular Road
Athlone Community College
Ballincollig Community School
Beech Hill College
Catherine McAuley School
South Circular Road
CBS Synge Street
Coláiste Chroí Mhuire
Inis Mór, Árainn,
Cross and Passion College
Dunshaughlin Community College
Fingal Community College
Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin
Good Counsel College
Holy Family School
Killarney Community School
Loreto Secondary School
Mount St. Michael
Mount Temple Comprehensive
North Wicklow Educate Together
Portmarnock Community School
Presentation Secondary School
St. Angela’s Secondary
St. Brendan’s College
St. Joseph’s Secondary School
St. Joseph’s Secondary School
St. Louis Community School
St. Mark’s Community School
St. Mary’s Academy CBS
St. Mary’s Secondary School
St. Vincent’s Secondary School
Stepaside Educate Together School
In addition to the work being carried out by the 41 collaborating schools, NCCA would welcome and greatly appreciate wider involvement of schools, or others, in the review of senior cycle. This may take the form of:
- sharing/disseminating any information on the review
- facilitating discussions among staff/parents/students to provide us with feedback
- participating in the final consultation in 2019
If you or your school would like to participate in some or all of the review, please access the school, parent and student questionnaires for each cycle under the tabs for cycle one and cycle two below. In the first cycle we are asking schools to discuss the purpose of senior cycle and in cycle two we are asking schools to focus on pathways and flexibility. You may wish to collate the views of your staff and submit the document to email@example.com.
Please note the closing dates for the submissions for cycle one is October 12th, 2018 and cycle two is January 8th, 2019.
To aid your discussions, any material produced to support the review for the collaborating schools will be available here on the website under the 'Materials to support the review' tab below. This material includes some research reports that may help to inform discussion on the research questions.
The overview reports for each cycle will be published online and a final overview report will be available for public consultation in 2019. Further detail about this consultation process will be published as it becomes available.
If you have any other queries or would like to learn more about how you can have your say, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Key dates for schools
Materials to support the review
Supporting student voices
Student voice is central to the senior cycle review. In order to facilitate the inclusion of student voice, the following guide to the student voice process and student voice questions have been developed to support schools involved in the review.
Supporting school-wide discussion
In cycle one of the review, the focus of the questions is on the purpose of senior cycle education and futures thinking.
The following document outlines the questions for cycle one for schools and also includes prompts and links to research reports that may prove useful in initiating discussion. The powerpoint presentation may be useful in presenting the questions to staff.
- Senior cycle review: Cycle one questions for schools
- Supporting school-wide discussion cycle one powerpoint
Supporting parental voice
As key stakeholders in the school community, parents are asked to have a role in the review of senior cycle. The following materials may assist schools and parents in getting involved in the review.
Research to Support Cycle 1
Research to support cycle one
The following research reports and articles may be useful in discussions on some of the issues raised in cycle one.
Challenges for senior cycle
Much of the research carried out regarding senior cycle focuses on the challenges facing students at this level. Stress and anxiety have been highlighted as key difficulties facing students as they reach the end of second level. Some research points to the high-stakes nature of the assessment as one of the key factors influencing stress levels of students, but the same research also points to student-teacher interactions, peer relations, programme choice and subject options as key indicators of stress.
This study (Baird, Hofenbeck, Elwood, Caro & Ahmed, 2014) outlines the differing experiences of the Leaving Certificate for teachers and students. Whereas teachers’ experiences were bound by their subject area, students experience an extensive range of demands across their subjects. It is concluded that this tension within subjects and across subjects causes the narrowing of the curriculum and allows teaching to the test to flourish.
This study outlines some of the backwash effects of the CAO points on the teaching and learning at secondary level. The narrowing of the curriculum and the conflation of the experience of senior cycle with the results, and points, received in the examination has also resulted in a student cohort who are unprepared for higher education. The system is also accused of failing to foster problem solving and independent learning.
Looking to other jurisdictions
Research into the provision of upper secondary education across a range of jurisdictions reveals certain similarities in terms of the aims and purposes of this stage of education. In France, through the three pathways available (general, technological and professional) upper secondary education aims to respond to students’ individual talents and so enable them to fulfil their potential.
In Finland, the aim of this stage of education is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary for further study and working life, but also aims to enable students to benefit from lifelong learning and take a democratic, responsible and active role as part of a local, national, European and global community.
Looking toward the future
Across a range of jurisdictions there are a number of key skills that curricula aim to embed at this stage of education. The OECD identifies three main challenges for society (economic, social and environmental). In order to address these challenges students will require a broader set of skills, attitudes and competences including: cognitive and meta-cognitive skills; social and emotional skills; practical and physical skills.
The World Economic Forum has examined trends in the evolution of the workforce and, given the changing nature of the workforce, has indicated that the ability to effectively retrain and upskill for a varied and changing work life will be one of the key contributors to successful employment.
- Supporting student voices
Consultation: Cycle 1
The following material will be useful in undertaking the senior cycle review in your school.
- Senior cycle review: cycle one questions for schools
- School answer template
- Senior cycle review: cycle one parents' questions
- Parent answer template
- Senior cycle review: student voice questions
- Student voice answer template (junior cycle students)
- Student voice answer template (senior cycle students)
Consultation: Cycle 2
In cycle one of the review, the questions focused on the broad purposes of this stage of education. We asked questions about the benefits and challenges of senior cycle in schools. We now want to delve into the aspects of the programmes offered in our schools that we can learn from in this review of senior cycle. We also want to look further afield, explore some other ways of structuring senior cycle.
The following may be useful in exploring these issues: