All Education and Training Board (ETB) Schools in Tipperary (formerly known as vocational schools) are state-established and are administered by Tipperary Education and Training Boards (TETB).
Post-primary education consists of a three-year Junior Cycle (lower secondary), followed by a two or three year Senior Cycle (upper secondary), depending on whether the optional Transition Year (TY) is taken.
Details of the programmes are as follows:
Students usually begin the Junior Cycle at age 12. The Junior Certificate examination is taken after three years. The main objective of the Junior Cycle is for students to complete a broad and balanced curriculum, and to develop the knowledge and skills that will enable them to proceed to Senior Cycle education. A new Framework for Junior Cycle is due to make significant changes to the current Junior Cycle beginning in September 2014.
Junior Certificate School Programme
The Junior Certificate School Programme is a national programme sponsored by the Department of Education and Skills and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. It originated in the early school leavers’ programmes initiated by the Curriculum Development Unit.
The Senior Cycle caters for students in the 15 to 18 year age group. It includes an optional Transition Year, which follows immediately after the Junior Cycle.
TY provides an opportunity for students to experience a wide range of educational inputs, including work experience, over the course of a year that is free from formal examinations.
During the final two years of Senior Cycle, students take one of three programmes, each leading to a State Examination: the traditional Leaving Certificate, the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) or the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA).
The traditional Leaving Certificate examination is the terminal examination of post-primary education and is taken when students are typically 17 or 18 years of age. Syllabuses are available in more than 30 subjects and students are required to take at least five subjects, one of which must be Irish.
Leaving Certificate Applied
The Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) Programme is a self-contained two-year course, intended to meet the needs of those students who are not adequately catered for by other Leaving Certificate programmes. It is a person-centred course involving a cross-curricular approach rather than a subject based structure.
Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) is similar to the traditional Leaving Certificate Programme, with a concentration on technical subjects and some additional modules which have a vocational focus.
School Completion Programme
The School Completion Programme (SCP) was set up as part of Department of Education and Skills (DES) DEIS Strategy which is: Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, and is now under the remit of TUSLA.
Its’ aim is to increase the numbers of young people staying in primary and second level education and in doing so improve the numbers of pupils who successfully complete the Senior Cycle, or it’s equivalent.
SCP work focuses on targeting and providing supports to young people identified to be most at risk of early school leaving and includes:
Identifying and supporting children at risk of not reaching their potential in the educational system because of poor attendance, participation and retention via initiatives such as breakfast clubs; homework clubs; afterschool supports; mentoring programmes. Ensuring that schools have in place the appropriate procedures to monitor, identify and respond to attendance, participation and retention issue.
Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) Courses
The Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme is a full-time programme for young people who have completed their Leaving Certificate and adults returning to education.
PLC courses are mostly provided in PLC Centres in Tipperary. PLC programmes generally lead to Major awards made by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) at NFQ-Level 5 or NFQ-Level 6.