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St Andrew's College Dublin St Andrew's College Dublin

Core Subjects


There are two papers, in the Leaving Certificate English examination, which test

  • Competence in language
  • Appreciation of literature

The aim is to increase students' awareness of both their own use of language and that of others. Emphasis is placed on developing students' skills in thinking, evaluation and composing. The wide-ranging syllabus includes a choice of texts from Greek tragedy, Shakespeare, traditional texts in poetry and novels, and modern works from throughout the English-speaking world. Also, film studies are included in the English course.

Our aim is that our sixth-year students emerge as thoughtful and discriminating adults, who respond with sensitivity and understanding to the words of others, and express themselves accurately and effectively.


The Leaving Certificate Irish Programme is offered at Higher, Ordinary and Foundation level.

Students are expected to study Irish unless they have a Department of Education & Science exemption.

The following skills are tested in the L.C. exam and the percentage of marks awarded for each skill is also outlined:

  • Oral    – 40%
  • Aural   – 10%
  • Written and Comprehension (Paper 1) – 17%
  • Knowledge of Literature (Paper 2) – 33%

Changes in the marking scheme of the Irish Leaving Certificate exam (as stated above) will come into effect for students sitting the Leaving Certificate in 2012. Students with a good understanding of the language after Junior Certificate are encouraged to attempt Higher Level for Leaving Certificate as it is possible to do very well at this level.

The aim of this course is:

  • to develop within the student the necessary skills required in learning a language (oral, listening, written, reading).
  • to give students some knowledge and insight into Irish literature (including mythology, novels. drama, short stories, poetry).
  • to promote, encourage and cultivate a positive attitude to the Irish language - in doing so, increasing the students' awareness of their own identity and cultural heritage.


Exemptions from the of Irish granted by the Department of Education & Science are the only exemptions that can be considered by the College in the teaching of Irish. NUI exemptions do not apply to the College regulations.


Mathematics is a wide-ranging subject with many aspects. On the one hand, in its manifestations in terms of counting, measurement, pattern and geometry it permeates the natural and constructed world around us, and provides the basic language and techniques for handling many aspects of everyday and scientific life. On the other hand, it deals with abstractions, logical arguments and fundamental ideas of truth and beauty, and so is an intellectual discipline and a source of aesthetic satisfaction. These features have caused it to be given names such as 'the queen and the servant of the sciences'. Its role in the classroom reflects this dual nature: it is both practical and theoretical - geared to applications and of intensive interest - with the two elements firmly linked.

The Higher Course

The Higher Course is aimed at the more able students. Students may choose it because it caters for their needs and aspirations as regards careers or further study, or because they have a special interest in mathematics. The course therefore will equip mathematical specialists, that is, students who will pursue advanced Mathematics courses, and will also cater suitably for students who will not proceed to further study of Mathematics or related subjects. Students who follow the Higher Course will already have shown their ability to study Mathematics in an academic environment. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the content of the Junior Certificate Higher Course is absolutely essential. Topics studied will include 'Functions and Calculus', Probability and Statistics', 'Algebra',  'Trigonometry', ‘Analytical and Transformation Geometry’, ‘Induction’, ‘Matrices’, ‘Vectors’, ‘Complex Numbers’, ‘Sequences and Series’ and the ‘Binomial Theorem’.

The Ordinary Course

This course has been designed for the many students who will need Mathematics as a service subject, that is, providing knowledge and techniques that will be needed in future for their study of scientific, economic, business and technical subjects. However, it will also cater suitably for students who will not proceed to further study of Mathematics or related subjects. The course moves gradually from the relatively concrete and practical to more general and abstract concepts. As well as equipping students with important tools, it offers opportunities for them to deepen their understanding and appreciation of Mathematics and to experience some of its classical 'powerful ideas'. Topics studied will include 'Probability and Statistics', 'Sequences and Series', 'Linear Programming', 'Functions and Calculus', 'Complex Numbers', 'Algebra', ‘Trigonometry’, ‘Coordinate Geometry of the Line and Circle’, ‘Length’, Area and Volume’, ‘Applied Arithmetic’, ‘Geometry’ and ‘Enlargements’. 


The introduction of the New Project Maths Course will begin this year.

Modern Language

The Leaving Certificate Modern Language syllabus is a common framework for the teaching and examining of French, German, Spanish and Italian. The syllabus content draws on the Junior Cycle syllabus and develops many aspects of its aims, objectives and content. The syllabus is communicative, with the objective of facilitating the effective use of the target language by the student as well as informing the student of its culture.

Assessment of students’ performance emphasises language and communication skills rather than the information content of any particular section of the syllabus. An integrated approach is taken to the three broad components of the syllabus. Classroom activities usually involve more than one of the three areas; for example the choice of certain authentic materials might provide the focus for working on certain aspects of any two or all three components.  Many of the activities help learners to develop the more global skills necessary to acquire Basic Communicative Proficiency.

The aims of the Junior Certificate syllabus make explicit reference to the development of learners’ language awareness and cultural awareness. These aspects of the Junior Certificate syllabus are developed further in the syllabus for the Leaving Certificate.

Language Awareness and Cultural Awareness are highly relevant to the communicative challenges of the classroom and the real world and give the student a reasonable level of communicative proficiency. They also have a valuable contribution to make in connection with the wider language education and intercultural consciousness-raising functions of foreign language learning.

Heightened language awareness also accelerates progress towards grammatical and lexical accuracy and therefore towards communicative efficiency. Talking, reading and writing about the target language in the target language can promote both fluency and accuracy. Relevant aspects of the mother tongue and other languages known to the learner and thus, at least to an extent, the functioning of language in general. Such awareness can be expected to improve the learner’s ability to use the language for a wide range of purposes.

While recognising that it is helpful for teachers and learners to have a defined-content syllabus, it is accepted also that it would be impossible to include in the syllabus all the words and structures that learners will meet when using the target language.  Learners will therefore need to develop communication strategies to cope with words and structures they have not previously met. Effective language learning involves using a range of strategies to deduce meaning, such as using not only linguistic knowledge but also context and background knowledge.

Cultural Awareness is highly versatile in its potential usefulness. Taking into account cultural differences is often absolutely essential for successful communication. A lack of familiarity with the major cultural reference-points (social, political, historical, etc.) of the target language community on the part of a non-native speaker can hamper communication. Instruction is done mainly through the medium of the target language.

These objectives focus not only on the target language community but also on its relationship to Ireland and the Irish way of life, and in the fact that they refer not only to culture-specific issues but also to issues which go beyond cultural divisions. Teaching and learning strategies are based on a comparative methodology which enhances the student's interest in and appreciation of the target language.