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Every year a small group of students leave school without qualifications, some of them without attempting any of the State examinations. For many of these young people, their experience of school has been one of failure and alienation.
The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) was introduced by the Department of Education and Science in September 1996 as an intervention within the Junior Certificate specifically aimed at those students who are potential early school leavers.
The Programme is designed to ensure that these young people can benefit from their time in school and enjoy the experience of improvement and success. It does this by providing a curriculum framework which will assist schools and individual teachers in adopting a student centred approach to education and in providing students with a programme to meet their individual needs.
It sets out to make the experience of school relevant and accessible to those young people who find it difficult to cope with the school system and who would benefit from support in working towards the aims of the Junior Certificate.

The JCSP approach involves:

Analysing students’ strengths and weaknesses and taking note of any specific
recurring difficulties planning programmes of work which both build on students’ abilities and address the main obstacles which hinder their progress Engaging in dialogue with young people and their parents regarding their needs and their progress in school. In addition to reinforcing the general aims of the Junior Certificate, the JCSP addresses the main obstacles which hinder some young people's success in their second-level school career e.g. the lack of certain basic knowledge and skills which are necessary for coping in the second-level school. These include, but are not confined to, competence in literacy and numeracy difficulties with social interaction not only with teachers, but with peers. Students who have prolonged experience of failure in school often lack self-confidence and have poor self-esteem. This can affect their academic performance as well as their social experience in school
The Junior Certificate School Programme provides schools and teachers with a focus for identifying and addressing these issues before they develop into major problems. It also assists teachers to take appropriate action if these are already causing young people to have difficulties with school. Students who may be at risk can be identified at an early stage in their school careers. Schools whose staff are experienced in working with young people who have experienced failure during schooling and/or who are under-achieving have noticed that many students who fail or drop out display a combination of the following indicators: poor attendance or truancy serious difficulties in the primary school difficulty with some of the basic skills and knowledge which are necessary for coping with second-level school, for example, reading, writing and numeracy signs of being alienated or disaffected and non-co-operative behaviour such as disrupting class or withdrawal from school life
Difficulty in getting along with their peers especially in the case of those who show
Signs of poor self-esteem

The JCSP Curriculum Strategy
The Junior Certificate School Programme operates within the Junior Certificate curriculum. It follows the curriculum framework set out for the Junior Certificate, which is re-focused to cater for JCSP students. It is the curriculum accessible and relevant to young people who would benefit from a different approach to the Junior Certificate.

JCSP

Junior Certificate School Programme
The basic theme of the programme is to recognise achievements and thus boost the student's self esteem.


What is the JCSP?

The Junior Certificate School Programme is a national programme sponsored by the Department of Education and Science and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. It originated in the early school leavers’ programmes initiated by the Curriculum Development Unit. Currently the programme is operating in over 240 schools throughout the country.

Aims

The Junior Certificate School Programme aims to provide a curriculum framework that assists schools and teachers in making the Junior Certificate more accessible to those young people who may leave school without formal qualifications. It attempts to help young people experience success and develop a positive self-image by providing a curriculum and assessment framework suitable to their needs. On completion of the programme students receive a profile which is an official record of their achievements from the Department of Education and Science.
The aim of the Junior Certificate School Programme is to provide a fresh approach to the Junior Certificate Programme for potential early school leavers who are struggling to cope with secondary school. It is an intervention for these students based on the concept that all young people are capable of achieving real success in school.

Is this an alternative to the Junior Certificate?

No, the Junior Certificate School Programme is not an alternative to the Junior Certificate. It is a framework that is designed to help schools and teachers develop an imaginative approach to the Junior Certificate course. All the students in the Programme must be entered for the Junior Certificate examination.

What is the difference between the JCSP and the Junior Certificate?

The Junior Certificate School Programme is a way of working within the Junior Certificate. It is designed especially to help young people who have had a difficult experience of school and may be potential early leavers. Through a system of profiling a student’s work in Junior Cycle classes, students are provided with opportunities to engage with the curriculum and to achieve success at school. They get an official certificate of their achievements, validated by the Department of Education and Science, in addition to their Junior Certificate Examination Certificate.

Do students sit the Junior Certificate examination?

Absolutely! The whole point of participating in the Junior Certificate School Programme is to stay at school, experience success in school and become more confident about sitting the Junior Certificate Exam.

Do many students fail JCSP?

Students cannot fail JCSP. The Programme is about success. Achievable statements are carefully chosen. Students get an opportunity to complete a series of statements and build their own success profile - a profile listing all the things they can do.
What are the core subjects?
There are no core subjects as such. However, all students must be entered in the Junior Certificate Exam in English and Maths and they must follow a suitable course in Irish.

Do parents have a role in JCSP?

Parental involvement is encouraged and welcomed in JCSP. Schools increase the frequency of contact with parents with emphasis on passing on ‘good news’. Many schools hold parent days to exhibit work done, award certificates of achievement and generally celebrate with parents their children’s successes. Parents are invited to become actively involved in their children’s education by working with the school in encouraging good attendance, punctuality and homework and by praising progress made.

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JCSP Junior Certificate School Programme
Gorey Community School
At the forefront of education in North Wexford since 1993
Gorey Community School


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