Senior Cycle

Senior cycle education in Ireland may be of two or of three year’s duration. The difference is accounted for by students choosing to take an optional Transition Year in the first year of senior cycle, before they follow the two-year Leaving Certificate programme. 

The Transition Year provides an opportunity for students to experience a wide range of educational inputs, life skills and work experience at a remove from the examination focus.

Transition year is not examined, but rather is assessed, and is intended to be a broad educational experience which assists in the transition from the school environment by encouraging creativity and responsibility for ones self.. Homework is an important part of the Transition Year. In addition to traditional styles of homework, students are expected to do projects, assignments, interviews and research. Transition Year homework may involve hours spent after school arranging work experience, or visiting the elderly as a component of work in the community. 

The main objective of the Transition Year is to promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.’

At the end of the senior cycle the Leaving Certificate Examination is taken. The examination is the terminal examination of post-primary education. It is held at the end of the Senior Cycle in post-primary schools. The Senior Cycle caters for students in the 15 to 18 year old age group.

Senior cycle education seeks to provide learners with a high quality learning experience to prepare them for the world of work, for further and higher education and for successful personal lives, whatever that may entail for the individual learner. 

The vision of senior cycle education sees the learner at the centre of the educational experience. That experience will enable learners to be resourceful, to be confident, to participate actively in society, and to build an interest in and ability to learn throughout their future lives.