JCSP - Junior Cycle School Programme

What is JCSP?

The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) is a national programme developed and supported by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).  JCSP operates within the Junior Cycle curriculum and is an intervention into the Junior Cycle and not an alternative to it. 

The JCSP aims to help make the curriculum more accessible and relevant to those young people who would benefit from a different or alternative approach to Junior Cycle. 

Aims of The JCSP

The Junior Certificate School Programme aims 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.

The JCSP’s main aim is that every student will have a positive educational experience through a combination of learning in the classroom and also learning outside the classroom. These learning experiences will all lead to increased development of  students’ literacy, numeracy, communication and group work skills.

Every year a number of students are chosen from each year group to participate in JCSP. The JCSP is student centred, and with that in mind, 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 may hinder their progress.
  • engaging in dialogue with the young people and their parents/guardians regarding their needs and their progress in school

Currently there are 65 students at Junior Cycle in The Royal and Prior participating in and benefiting from the Junior Certificate Schools Programme.

What does JCSP look like in The Royal and Prior?

Sora – Reading App

Sora is a free digital library available to all students in the school. Every student and member of staff has their own password to access online books at the touch of a button. We are delighted to have Sora available as a literacy tool. 


Drop Everything and Read 

Our students regularly take part in DEAR – Drop Everything And Read. The aim is to encourage students to read more and to boost our students’ literacy skills. Students can choose to bring a book from home, read their novel from English class or they can utilise our free digital library.

Research shows that regular reading:

  • Improves brain connectivity
  • Increases vocabulary and comprehension
  • Encourages Empathy
  • Aids in sleep readiness
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
  • Fights depression symptoms
  • Prevents cognitive decline

Design and Make a Farm Challenge

There is always a great buzz in the Material Technology Room in December when JCSP students with the help of Mr Stewart design and make model farms.

Students are typically divided into small groups to work on the challenge and generally the make four farms in total over two days. 

Students then  decide who they would like to give a farm to as a Christmas present. Each student writes  a short letter nominating the child/group they think would really enjoy playing with the farm. 

This initiative focuses on team building skills and problem solving, as well as the many wood technology skills involved in the actual making of the farm. Students also use their literacy and letter writing skills.

As a Christian school, charity is close to our heart, our JCSP Students also get to experience the joy of giving.

Junior MasterChef

Each JCSP year group typically takes part in a cooking workshop in the Home Economics kitchen with Mrs. Patton. Last year, our students focused on the concept of a homemade takeaway or “Fakeway”! Students made everyhting from spaghetti bolognese to brownies.

This initiative focuses on improving the fine motor skills of our students, literacy and numeracy skills especially as students must be exact with the measurements, Students also improve their cooking skills and life skills. 

First Aid

Our JCSP students also gain an invaluable life skill through JCSP – First Aid! Last year we were fortunate enough to have Emmet Ryan from Donegal First Aid Services visit us and our 2nd year students took part in a half day Certified First Aid Course and 3rd year Students had a Full Day Certified course. Our Students learned some life saving skills like CPR, burns, car accident protocol, heart attack and stroke procedures, bandaging and taking a pulse.


Student review of JCSP in The Royal and Prior

“We take part in JCSP in The Royal and Prior. We have had the opportunity to take part in many activities over the last three years –  including Model Farm building, a First Aid course and cooking. Building the model farms with Mr Stewart was our favourite because we developed a lot of new skills including: communication, building and creativity skills. We enjoyed this activity as we both have a huge interest in farming so it was very fun to take part in. We really enjoyed JCSP and we both agree that the programme is a great thing to be involved in”.