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Subject Information 

Junior Cycle English focuses on improving students' communication skills, creativity and appreciation of literary, digital and visual texts through the three inter- connected strands of oral language, reading and writing. The Junior Cycle English specification was introduced into schools in September 2014. 

Department Members

  • Ms Fitzsimons 

  • Mr Flood 

  • Ms Lynch 

  • Ms O Sullivan 

  • Ms Sheridan 

  • Ms Shine 

  • Ms M Smyth 

  • Ms U Smith 

  • Ms Talbot 

At Leaving Cert level, the English course aims to develop

The ability to critically analyse information, as preparation for the responsibilities and challenges of adult life; 

A respect and appreciation for language used accurately and appropriately, and a competence in a wide range of oral and written language skills; 

An awareness of the value of literature for widening horizons, for enhancing their sense of cultural identity, and for personal enjoyment. 

Why Study English?

Universities generally require a student to pass English .

Leaving Certificate English invites students into rich experiences with language so that they become fluent and thoughtful users of it and more aware of its significance in their lives. 

The study of English develops a range of literacy and oral skills in a variety of areas - personal, social, and cultural. 

Students develop a wide range of skills and concepts which will allow them to interpret and enjoy a range of material so that they become independent learners who can operate independently in the world beyond school. 

Students interested in furthering their English studies beyond second-level have a wide variety course choices available. 

What kind of Student would English suit?

Anyone who has ambitions for a career in creative writing, politics, or entertainment. 

English also forms a key part of journalism courses and good presentation skills will be required for courses in history, politics, law and almost all other courses. 

Students seeking to develop and improve their communication skills. 


It is recommended that a student has achieved at least a grade (C) at Junior Certificate higher level, to continue into higher-level Leaving Certificate English. Other cautionary notes that parents should be aware of include: 


The study of English at higher level places significant demands on the Leaving Certificate student. 

The syllabus is very broad in its range of prescribed materials can be quite time consuming. 

The higher-level (course) exam rewards good writing skills and an independent learner. 

The extended composition features largely on both papers at higher level and students are expected to write between 750-1000 words in these essays, during the time available. 

There is the assumption at higher level that students will read widely and independently over the two years. 

An interest in social, political and current affairs is vital. 

Highly developed writing skills and critical analysis skills are prerequisite at Higher level. 

Conversely, at ordinary level, textual material is printed on the exam paper for students e.g. in the poetry sections, poems are printed for the students. Less extended pieces of writing are also expected. 

Texts at ordinary level are less challenging, particularly bearing in mind that students at O.L. do not have to study a Shakespearean play. 

Texts prescribed at O.L. are very student friendly and aimed at encouraging the more reluctant reader. 

There is a vast difference in the study of English at higher level for Junior Certificate and the Study of English at higher level for the Leaving Certificate. 

Subject Group: Humanities

These subjects explore the ways in which humans live and communicate in the world. Human life is examined by looking at our past, our present and into our future. These subjects help people to express themselves clearly and develop their reasoning ability. 

Career Sectors

This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors: 

  • Business Management & Human Resources 

  • Government, Politics & EU 

  • Education & Teaching 

  • Banking & Financial Services 

  • Tourism & Hospitality 

  • Media, Film & Publishing 

  • Sales, Retail & Purchasing 

  • Transport & Logistics 

  • History, Culture & Languages 

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