The Leaving Cert continues where the Junior Cert leaves off.
There are three Leaving Certificate options offered by the Department of Education and Skills.
- The Leaving Certificate (Established) - LCE
- The Leaving Certificate (Vocational Programme) - LCVP
- The Leaving Cert (Applied) - LCA
The Leaving Certificate (Established) - LCE would be the most common Leaving Cert Programme and like both other programmes it runs over a two years period. Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level. Two subjects, Irish and Mathematics, can be studied at Foundation Level. Foundation Level is geared to the needs of students who might have difficulty with those subjects at Ordinary or Higher Level.
The three core subjects of English, Maths and Irish are generally compulsory for LCE. Each school will offer a number of optional subjects to choose from. Not all schools will be in a position to offer all subjects. Students usually take between six to eight subjects, and sometimes more.
Choosing which optional subjects to study enables you to focus your attention on areas that interest you. For example, would you prefer to focus on business or science subjects - or a combination of both? Sometimes the subjects you choose for the leaving cert can influence your choice of college course after school. This is because some college courses require you to have taken certain leaving cert subjects, and even require that you achieve certain grades in these subjects, in order to be accepted on the course.
The Leaving Cert (Vocational Programme) - LCVP has extra career preparation and enterprise subjects. LCVP students take at least five subjects. These include English, Irish, plus two subjects from specified vocational subject groupings, and a Modern European language (other than Irish or English). LCVP students also take three Link Modules on Enterprise Education, Preparation for Work and Work Experience.
The LCVP combines the academic strengths of the Leaving Certificate (established) with a 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.
More information on the LCVP here
The Leaving Certificate (Applied) - LCA is a distinct, self-contained Leaving Certificate programme. It is strongly 'vocational' which means that it's more job and employment focused than the other 2 programmes. It is designed for those students who may not wish to proceed directly to third level education although many may continue their education using the Further Education & Training (FET) route.
It is a perfect choice for those whose interests, needs, aspirations and aptitudes are not adequately catered for by the other two Leaving Certificate programmes. The Leaving Certificate Applied is structured around three main elements – Vocational Preparation, Vocational Education and General Education - which are interrelated and interdependent. This programme is characterised by educational experiences of an active, practical and student-centred nature.
The use of active teaching and learning methodologies across the curriculum promotes those qualities that are fundamental to the development of an individual with an enterprising outlook: self-confidence, responsibility, co-operation, teamwork, problem solving, independence, decision making, initiative. Work experience and work simulation provides an important opportunity to apply and further develop these qualities.
More information on the LCA here