Senior Cycle


In order to create an environment where all members of this school community can reach their full potential we aim to facilitate lifelong learning, to encourage respect for self, others and the environment and to appreciate individual talents and abilities.
It is our policy that each student will be enabled to make curriculum choices for Senior Cycle that will foster a spirit of enterprise, adaptability and initiative and develop communicative, interpersonal, vocational and technological skills.
We offer programmes at Senior Cycle which include:
Transition Year, Traditional Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme and Leaving Certificate Applied Programme.


The traditional Leaving Certificate programme involves students taking seven subjects for examination purposes.  Compulsory subjects are Irish (unless a student has an official exemption resulting from an educational psychological assessment), English and Mathematics.
Students choose four subjects from the following








Business Studies



Technical Drawing
Construction Studies
Home Economics (Social & Scientific)

Creative Arts


Students also have instruction in PE, Computers, SPHE,  and RE.

It is not recommended that students take up a subject at Senior Cycle that they have not studied at Junior Cycle level.


The L.C.V.P. is a Leaving Certificate with a strong vocational dimension. It is an additional certification awarded with the Leaving Certificate to students with particular subject combinations and includes modules in Work Experience, Enterprise Education and Preparation for Work. The programme provides students with the opportunity to release their potential for self – directed learning, for innovation and for enterprise.
The programme aims to prepare students for the real world where the ability to cope with rapid change is of increasing importance in preparation for social and economic life.

Benefits of doing the LCVP
All third level institutions  recognise the value of the LCVP and award points accordingly, based on a student attainment.  A student may use his / her LCVP points as their sixth subject if the points they score in their “regular” subjects were lower than those achieved in their Link Modules.

Students are expertly prepared for the world of work as they learn how to compile a Curriculum Vitae, complete application forms for employment, write letters of application for employment and practice Mock interviews.
Report writing skills are learned for the first time – an absolute necessity for any student intending to embark on any third level course.
Students gain individual confidence in presenting reports / findings to a group situation.
The Enterprise Education Module allows students, if they so wish, to establish a small business among themselves. Students learn both the theory and the practice of the in’s and out’s of running small enterprises and business plans, marketing strategies and Income and Expenditure accounts. Company Management structure is also taught in this module.
Students profile local entrepreneurs and visit local companies / voluntary organisations to gain greater insight into their operations.
Information technology forms the basis of this programme. Students compile a portfolio of their course work over two years and this portfolio is assessed along with their written examination. Every component of the portfolio is word processed so students will be exposed to programmes such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Power Point, Publisher as well as the Internet.
Apart from the numerous academic advantages listed above, the programme strives to promote greater competency, responsibility, motivation, innovativeness and self-esteem among students.

Subject choices to qualify for the LCVP are decided by the Department of Education and Science.

Vocational Subject Groupings (VSGs)

Two subjects are selected from one of the Vocational Subject Groupings. These subjects provide students with a focus for developing vocational skills and exploring their career options.
The Specialist Groupings consist of subjects which complement one another . The Services Groupings comprise subjects which complement one another in a commercial context.

Vocational Subject Groupings (VSGs)

1    Construction Studies; Engineering; Design and Communication Graphics; Technology.
2   Physics and Construction Studies or Engineering or Technology or Design & Communication Graphics
3   Agricultural Science and Construction Studies or Engineering or Technology or Design & Communication Graphics
4   Agricultural Science and Chemistry or Physics or Physics/Chemistry
5   Home Economics; Agricultural Science; Biology – Any Two
6   Home Economics and Art – Design Option or Craft Option
7   Accounting; Business; Economics – Any two
8   Physics and Chemistry
9   Biology and Chemistry or Physics or Physics/Chemistry
10 Biology and Agricultural Science
11  Art – Design Option or Craft Option and Design & Communication Graphics

Services Groupings

12  Engineering or Technology or Construction Studies or Design & Communication Graphics and Accounting or Business or Economics
13  Home Economics and Accounting or Business or Economics
14  Agricultural Science and Accounting or Business or Economics
15  Art Design or Craftwork Option and Accounting or Business or Economics
16  Music and Accounting or Business or Economics


The Leaving Cert. Applied Programme was introduced by the Department of Education and Science to recognize the talents of all students, to use a greater range of intelligences and to provide opportunities for development in terms of responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge.

The LCAP is an innovative programme in the way students learn, in what they learn and in the way in which their achievements are assessed. Courses are offered in three main areas:

Vocational Preparation

This aspect of the programme focuses on preparation for work, work experience, enterprise and communications.

General Education


This aspect of the programme gives students general life skills, including drama, art, social education, leisure and languages.

Vocational Education

This aspect of the programme is concerned with the development of mathematical and information technology and the practical skills necessary for special areas such as tourism, business, horticulture, engineering and technology. The availability of this programme is dependent on student choice and number.

All students study  the following:

  • Vocational Preparation and Guidance
  • English and Communications
  • Mathematical
  • Communicative Irish
  • Social Education
  • Leisure and Recreation including Physical Education
  • Arts Drama
  • Religion
  • Art

Students at St. Mary’s College  also choose two from following:

  1. Introduction to Information and Communication Technology
  2. Hotel Catering and Tourism
  3. Graphics and Construction Studies

200 credits are available to all students who complete the LCAP at St. Mary’s College.
In the course of two years, each student will complete 44 projects. The student will also complete 7 major projects called tasks. At the end of each session, an inspector from the Department of Education and Science will examine the task or tasks for the sessions and the student will be interviewed by the examiner. Each task is awarded am maximum of 10 credits. The remaining 68 credits will be awarded for the final examination which will be held the same time as the Traditional Leaving Cert.

The 68 credits will be awarded as follows:

  • English and Communications = 10 credits
  • Vocational Specialism = 24 credits
  • Gaeilge = 6 credits
  • Spanish = 6 credits
  • Social Education = 10 credits
  • Mathematics = 10 credits


Satisfactory completion of projects = 62 credits
Satisfactory completion of tasks = 70 credits
Final exam = 68 credits
Total 200 credits

The Leaving Cert. Applied is awarded at three levels:
Pass………………..120 – 139 credits
Merit………………140 – 169 credits
Distinction…………170 – 200 credits

Students are requested to have 90% attendance in order to get credits awarded for completion of projects.