New Junior Cycle English

I’m still wrapping my head around the New Junior Cycle, as are lots of teachers I’m sure. I had my in-service day today (28/1/14) and I created these at a glance visuals for when we get to plan together as a department. There are six key skills:

Junior Cert key skills


but when you add in literacy and numeracy, I guess you could really say there are eight.

There are 24 statements of learning, 7 of which directly relate to English (I’m sure there’s overlap with some other subjects too):


Once we know what knowledge & skills we want students to develop (key skills across all subjects and statements of learning which relate to English as a subject) we then need to get to grips with the 39 specific learning outcomes for English (God help us!). However, only 22 of these 39 learning outcomes need to be focused on for incoming first years, so because my head kind of hurt with all the jargon, and because we have to start somewhere, I’ve just taken out the 22 learning outcomes that relate to First Year English. Here they are:




Lastly, here are the range and number of texts we’ll be expected to explore with first years:


Ā I know these graphs are tiny but they warped when I put them in full size. You should be able to click on them and print them off if you want to…

My fear is that, with only 4 classes a week in first year, it will be very difficult to achieve both the breath this spec demands (lots & lots of texts, poems, novels etc…) and also get any kind of depth, which this spec also demands (plan, draft, edit, re-edit… oral presentations). I reckon if I was timetabled for 6 classes a week it might be possible, so if the Minister will just announce that English matters more than pretty much any other subject (which I’ve always suspected anyway) and make 6 classes a week compulsory for first years, it’ll all be grand šŸ˜‰

More on this anon I’m sure…

In the meantime, click on this wonderful post by Conor Murphy, a lurking smurf on twitter andĀ a brilliant mind in reality, fully aware of the danger these ‘learning outcomes’ represent!Ā

Finally, if you haven’t had your fill, there’s a brilliant analysis here of why English teachers are so frustrated with the current in-service provisionĀ



When we started planning for first year using the visuals I’ve posted above, we realised that the numbers on my sheets didn’t match the numbers in the spec. That was grand for now but it might get confusing when we start planning for second and third year so we decided to stick with the numbers in the spec to kind of future proof our planning.

Anyway, here are the updated posters (or ‘graphic organisers’ if you prefer!)

Reading strand

Writing strand

Oral language



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