At present, all students study the following subjects to examination level:
Irish* (unless students have an exemption from the Department of Education & Skills) English, Maths, History, Geography, CSPE, Religion, Science, Physical Education (P.E.) (non-exam), (SPHE) (non-exam).

Students are divided into four or five mixed ability base classes in 1st to 3rd Year. In second and third year, classes in Irish and Maths are divided in accordance with the levels taken by students i.e. higher, or ordinary. Classes in other subjects will be of mixed ability. The greatest possible level of choice is given to students, when selecting optional subjects for 1st Year, subject to resources and availability. Preference will be given on a first come first served basis where there are limits on class size. Changes in subject choice are permitted when there is available space in the subject- this is subject to the approval of the Principal/Deputy Principal. Parents/guardians are advised to encourage students to stay with the study of subjects at higher level for as long as possible.


English in junior cycle aims to develop students’ knowledge of language and literature, to consolidate and deepen their literacy skills and make them more self-aware as learners.
More specifically it encourages all students:

  • to be creative through language and to gain enjoyment and continuing personal growth from English in all its forms
  • to develop control over English using it and responding to it with purpose and effect through the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading and writing
  • to engage personally with and think critically about an increasingly broad range of spoken, written and multimodal texts
  • to develop an informed appreciation of literature through personal encounters with a variety of literary texts
  • to use their literacy skills to manage information needs, and find, use, synthesise, evaluate and communicate information using a variety of media
  • to gain an understanding of the grammar and conventions of English and how they might be used to promote clear and effective communication


Through the Irish language specifications of the Junior Series the student develops, consolidates and expands Aim to understand the Irish language. The student is enabled to communicate effectively, interactively and confidently in formal and informal settings of the language community. Emphasis is placed on fostering and developing awareness; language awareness, cultural awareness together with the
student’s self-awareness as a language learner. The aim is to perpetuate and develop the skills that the student brings with him to post-primary school. The student is enabled to take ownership of the Irish language, an ability that will stand with him in life.

The student is encouraged to:

  • use language effectively, confidently, in a personal context and in communication with other
    users in the language community
  • enjoy creative and innovative communication through Irish
  • respect the Irish language and be eager to speak and use it
  • self-expression by consolidating their literacy skills
  • try out newly learned language features
  • engage with a wide range of texts, in different media, for learning, research, recreational purposes
  • to understand and respect Irish language literature in order to enjoy and benefit from literature
  • to have a better understanding of Irish culture and to respect and understand other cultures and languages.


The aim of junior cycle mathematics is to provide relevant and challenging opportunities for all students to become mathematically proficient so that they can cope with the mathematical challenges of daily life and enable them to continue their study of mathematics in senior cycle and beyond. In this specification, mathematical proficiency is conceptualised not as a one dimensional trait but as having five interconnected and interwoven components:

  • conceptual understanding—comprehension of mathematical concepts, operations, and relations
  • procedural fluency—skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently, and appropriately
  • strategic competence—ability to formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems in both familiar and unfamiliar contexts
  • adaptive reasoning—capacity for logical thought, reflection, explanation, justification and communication
  • productive disposition—habitual inclination to see mathematics as sensible, useful, and worthwhile, coupled with a belief in diligence, perseverance and one’s own efficacy.


The study of Junior Cycle Geography enables students to become geographically literate. It stimulates curiosity, creating opportunities for students to read, analyse, synthesise and communicate about their immediate environment and wider world. It develops knowledge, skills, values and behaviours that allow students to explore the physical world, human activities, how we interact with our world and to recognise the interconnections between systems.

Geography is a core subject at Coláiste Muire in Junior Cycle


Religious Education

In Junior Cycle Religious Education, we study all five of the Major World religions, and the course aims to develop knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values to enable young people to come to an understanding of religion and its relevance to life, relationships, society and the wider world. It also aims to develop the students’ ability to examine questions of meaning, purpose and relationships, to help students understand, respect and appreciate people’s expression of beliefs, and to facilitate dialogue and reflection on the diversity of beliefs and values that inform responsible decision-making and ways of living. We strive to prepare students for their Junior
Cycle Examination by carrying out two CBA’s (2nd and 3rd Year) while contining to honor the traditions of Blessed Catherine Mc Auley and Blessed Edmund Rice and our PBST Catholic Ethos.

Wellbeing at Junior Cycle

Wellbeing at Junior cycle sees students engage with a number of short courses that are designed to focus on the care of their physical and mental wellbeing. These include SPHE, CSPE and Physical Education.

Physical Education

Young people in junior cycle are at an important stage in their lives where they are
developing rapidly; physically, psychologically and socially. Increasingly, they are making their own lifestyle decisions, including whether and/or how they will participate in regular physical activity. Physical education can provide all students with enjoyable and worthwhile learning opportunities where they develop the movement skills and competencies to participate and perform in a variety of physical activities competently, confidently and safely. It builds students’ motivation in and commitment to physical activity and sport within and beyond school. It can
encourage students to get involved in both participation and leadership roles, irrespective of their previous experiences of or ability in physical activity.


This short course aims to develop students’ positive sense of themselves and their physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. It also aims to build the capacity of young people to develop and maintain healthy relationships.


The short course in CSPE aims to inform, inspire, empower and enable young people to participate as active citizens in contemporary society at local, national and global levels, based on an understanding of human rights and social responsibilities.