The Leaving Certificate examination is held at the end of the Senior Cycle in post-primary schools. It is the terminal examination of post primary education. The Senior Cycle caters for pupils in the 16 to 19 year old age group. Students normally sit for the examination at the age of 17, 18 or 19 after six years of post primary education.
Pupils following the established Leaving Certificate programme must take at least five subjects, including Irish.
- Applied maths
- Art history and appreciation
- Construction studies
- Design and communication graphics (DCG) [formerly – technical drawing]
- Home economics (social and scientific)
- Religion (Leaving Certificate examination subject)
- Religious education
The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) is an intervention designed to enhance the vocational dimension of the Leaving Certificate (established). The programme was introduced in 1994 in response to the challenge placed on Ireland’s education system by a changing work and business environment. The LCVP combines the academic strengths of the Leaving Certificate (established) with a new and dynamic focus on self – directed learning, innovation and enterprise. This two year programme is part of an expanded provision that aims to cater for the diversity of participants’ needs at senior cycle.
The primary goal of the LCVP is to prepare young people for adult life by ensuring that they are educated in the broadest sense, with an ability to cope and thrive in an environment of rapid change. Participants in the programme are encouraged to develop skills and competencies fundamental to both academic and vocational success.
Throughout the programme students are encouraged to:
- Be innovative and enterprising
- Take responsibility for their own learning
- Adapt to changing circumstances
- Evaluate data and devise solutions to problems
- Communicate their thoughts and ideas effectively
- Work with others as part of a team
- Investigate and plan career options
- Use information and communications technologies
- Investigate local businesses and community enterprises
- Learn from their experiences
These skills and qualities are equally relevant to the needs of those preparing for further education, seeking employment or planning to start their own business.
The strong vocational focus of the LCVP is achieved by arranging Leaving Certificate subjects into vocational subject groupings (VSGs) and through the provision of additional courses of study in work preparation and enterprise known as the link modules.
The core of the LCVP includes the following elements which students must take:
- two Leaving Certificate subjects to be chosen from one of the LCVP subject groupings
- a Leaving Certificate modern european language or a vocational language module
- mandatory link modules
LCVP students must take at least five Leaving Certificate subjects – one of which must be Irish.