Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) is a support service of my Department whose remit is the provision of an extensive programme of continuing professional development (CPD) to support the implementation of the Framework for Junior Cycle, subject specifications and associated teaching, learning, assessment, and reporting practices. The programme includes whole staff CPD, school leader CPD and subject specific CPD for teachers.
The JCT Gaeilge Team works and liaises with all education stakeholders and partners using established protocols and organisational structures, including the State Examinations Commission, in relation to teaching learning, reporting and assessment practices envisioned in the Framework. This includes, but is not limited to, the design of CPD, the integrated nature of the Learning Outcomes in the Gaeilge specification, and associated messages regarding ongoing assessment, classroom-based assessment, and the final assessment.
When working to support teachers with the enactment of the specification and associated assessment moments (including the final assessment), Advisers communicate the importance of the integrated approach to using Learning Outcomes for assessment, and the structure and format of the paper(s) as specified by the State Examinations Commission. Advisers also offer other exam related support, guidance and information, but are careful not to go beyond their remit. The State Examinations Commission is a separate body to Junior Cycle for Teachers whose remit includes the development, design, administration and assessment of the final assessment for Junior Cycle Gaeilge. In instances where a teacher’s query falls within the remit of the State Examinations Commission, teachers are given the information they require to pursue their query with SEC. The JCT Gaeilge Team, also communicates teacher queries, observations and concerns to the State Examinations Commission on an ongoing basis.
Following extensive stakeholder consultation, new L1 and L2 specifications for Junior Cycle Irish were introduced in September 2017. Due the disruption to learning and cancellation of the summer 2020 and 2021 Junior Cycle examinations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic it was not possible for students to engage with the final assessment component which is set by the State Examinations Commission until this year. The cohort of students currently taking Junior Cycle examinations are therefore the first to have engaged with the full range of learning and assessment experiences in line with the specifications for Junior Cycle Irish.