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

Option Subjects


The Philosophy and Aims

What we try to achieve with our pupils is simply this:

  • As individuals they are guided towards an awareness of themselves and their environment
  • As artists they are motivated to react to their experiences and to their environment

In the process they are introduced to the role of the artist and his relationship to society, past and present. Collectively and individually they become aware of themselves and their surroundings. They enjoy a curriculum which guides them towards a successful Junior Certificate.

Through Art we feel we help to produce keen and interested students who, at the end of their school days, have a sense of achievement and a desire to know more. Many of our students go on to take Art courses at third level, and progress to careers in related areas. Of course not all our students go on to art school but the art education they have received will benefit and enrich their lives in so many ways.

The School Programme

The Junior Years

An introduction to the many techniques used in an art and design programme, such as:

  1. Drawing
  2. Painting
  3. Screen-printing
  4. Lino-cutting
  5. Batik
  6. Clay Modelling
  7. Photography

Our pupils are taught to support their work with research. For this they may use the many books and periodicals in the art room and the excellent services of our school library.

By the time our pupils are ready to start their Junior Certificate, which is in the form of a project starting in their third year, they are confident in their ability to achieve their potential.

Business Studies

The Business Studies course is divided into four separate but related parts:

  1. The Business of Living
  2. The Business Environment
  3. Record Keeping
  4. Information Technology

Each of these areas teaches students how to manage their money and make better decisions. This means that students are encouraged to become more responsible about their money and how they spend it. Students will learn that 'leaving things to chance' is a poor rule in life. It is better to make plans and learn from any mistakes you make.

Personal and business finance is the basis for Part 1: The Business of Living. At the end of this section students will understand the types of financial decisions that people and families are faced with. The aim of this section is to make students aware of the role they can play in controlling their finances whether they are too young to work, are unemployed, self-employed or work for someone else.

The rest of the course applies the household situation to the business setting. At home it is your money you are spending. When you work for someone else it is their money you are spending. If you make mistakes with their money or if you spend it foolishly, they, your employer, will not be too pleased. Therefore, these decisions are similar to the home, but because you are dealing with someone else's money great care must be taken or you could lose your job.

Working for someone else is not always possible or desirable. The alternatives are to become unemployed or self employed. The course looks at both of these situations and the types of financial decisions they demand.

Business Studies, therefore, is about being careful with money. It is also about taking calculated risks and not being afraid of failure. Or, when you do fail, learning from your mistakes and not repeating them the next time. The course supplies a setting for the study of care and risk and gives strong encouragement for students to 'get into business' and enjoy it.


  • Entry into the Senior cycle subjects of Business, Economics and Accounting is in no way affected by the level undertaken at Junior Certificate. In fact, it is not necessary to have taken Business Studies at all.
  • Business Studies is taught in mixed ability classes. The Higher Level course consists of two examination papers, with one concentrating more on book-keeping skills. The Ordinary Level course consists of one examination paper.
  •  Business is the only optional course with two examinations.

Home Economics

In the past Home Economics was regarded as a subject for girls where they were taught skills in cooking and sewing. Home Economics has been greatly revised and the syllabus designed to equip young people of both genders in skills and knowledge which will be of direct relevance to their present and future life.

The syllabus is divided in two areas:

  1.  a common core
  2. an optional study area

Common Core

The common core comprises the following five main areas of study which are studied by all students.

1.  Food Studies and Culinary Skills

This is concerned with the part diet plays in health. Emphasis is placed on current dietary issues, eating disorders and the foods to avoid or to eat if one suffers from diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, anaemia or high cholesterol levels.

The importance of proper food preparation, storage and how to prevent food contamination is also included. The culinary skills component ensures that each student is capable of completing a range of skills - e.g. planning, preparation, cooking and presentation of food.

Emphasis throughout is on healthy eating.

2.  Consumer Studies

This involves educating pupils so that they may become discerning consumers making them aware of their rights and responsibilities. They are taught about budgeting, consumer-laws and how these laws protect consumers. They gain an understanding and an appreciation of quality in relation to goods and services.

3.  Resource Management and Home Studies

This area provides an introduction to the concept of management. Management has a fundamental role in helping families meet the increasing complexities with which they are faced.

4.  Social and Health Studies

This deals with the issues which influence the lifestyles and expectations of every young person. It should increase their understanding of themselves and the world in which they are growing up.

5.  Textiles

As clothing is one of man's primary needs, this area of study is designed to give students an opportunity to appreciate the culture, history and the influence of fashion or textiles on the fashion industry.

It presents students with the opportunity to show their own creative abilities by designing and applying their designs to the construction of clothing and textiles.

Optional Study Area

In the Junior Certificate year, students choose one of the following optional areas of study:

1.  Childcare

Pupils trace the physical, mental and emotional development of a child from birth to 6 years of age and the factors that may influence a child's development.

2.  Design and Craftwork

This includes the construction of different crafts, e.g. applique, patchwork, machine embroidery and fabric painting.

3.  Textiles

This is a continuation of the core.

  • Due to the practical aspect of the subject, Home Economics develops the potential of each individual through creative and practical experience.
  • Throughout the course knowledge is selected that is suitable for students of varying academic social backgrounds.
  • The subject can be continued and studied for the Leaving Certificate where it is fully recognised by Colleges.
  • Finally it is a subject open to both genders.


Junior Cycle music aims to contribute to the development of artistic awareness and understanding, self-expression, self-esteem, imagination and multicultural sensitivity, and therefore, to the development of the whole person. Students will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and engage with authentic and original music, which is both theirs and the music of others. In doing so, they will develop their music literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with today's musical world.

It is not necessary for entrants to have prior music education. All students are given an opportunity to explore, compose and create music in a classroom context. The junior cycle allows for students of all abilities to engage in music making from performance, composition, music technology and appreciation of a variety of musical genres and styles.

The music course is based on the cultivation of three fundamental musical skills – listening, performing ad composing, including music technology.

Listening – Appraising and Responding

Students will study music form a wide variety of musical types from Medieval and Renaissance to 20th Century and contemporary music in the classical genre, traditional, ethnic, folk, jazz, blues, rock, pop and electronic in the popular idiom. The works selected will help students gain an understanding of melodic and rhythmic features, form, harmony, texture, instrumentation, and composing styles through the ages.

Performing – Participation and Music Making

Performing can be a soloist or as part of a group (for instance, choir, orchestra, ensemble, musical, pop-groups, bands). The emphasis here is on the activities themselves and so a high level of technical proficiency is not essential. Anyone who has never played a musical instrument before First Year can still do very well in music for Junior Cycle.

Composing – Creating and Exploring

Students learn basic music literacy (reading and writing music) and apply this to melody writing, setting words to music, harmony and chord progressions. Creating music using an array of music technology will also be incorporated. Both solo and group composition will take place.


  • There are two classroom-based assessments
  • Practical examination - 30% Students will perform 3 musical songs/pieces. Solo and group performing may be freely mixed. The songs/pieces may also be presented on a variety of instruments or a combination of voice and instruments. Technical control, fluency and musicality will be assessed. THE STANDARD REQUIRED WILL REFLECT WHAT CAN BE ATTAINED IN 3 YEARS OF CLASS-BASED TUITION. 
  • Written Examination – 70% One and a half hour’s duration.  Engage with, demonstrate comprehension of and provide written responses to stimulus provided.

Extra Curricular Music

Music is a huge part of life in St. Andrew’s College. Students have the opportunity to perform at numerous events in the school calendar every year. It is so important to note that they can take part in Extra Curricular Music activities even if they do not choose music as an option.

  • School Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Instrumental lessons
  • Musical
  • Music and Dance Festival
  • Chamber groups
  • Guitar and Ukulele Club
  • Traditional Groups

Music as an academic subject is not to be confused with the variety of extra-curricular musical activities in the school. Although these are open to all students, participation in these activities alone is not preparation for the Junior Cycle exam completion.

Classical Studies

Classical Studies is a relatively new subject that includes the study of the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome.

It is a subject that the student can study up to Leaving Certificate, just like any other, and it carries full points for entry to third level.

There is no language content. It deals with the history, archaeology, drama, art, architecture, warfare, slavery, daily life and major figures of the ancient world. All texts used are in translation.

Typically in First Year, we begin with the Greek myths with which many children are already familiar in some form. Stories such as the Battle of the Gods and the Giants, Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts, Theseus and the Minotaur, Pandora's Box and others feature. Apart from telling these tales, we also look at what myths actually are, why people told these stories and what purpose they served.

Next we move on to Homer's Iliad, the story of the Trojan War and some of its main events. This is the first ever piece of literature in the Western world, but just as fresh today as it was 3,000 years ago. We do selections from it rather than the whole text, and as it is about love and death, sex and violence, hatred, loyalty and deception, not too different from the themes of your average soap, it tends to be greatly enjoyed by all.

Later, in Second and Third Year, each class can choose its own topics from a wide choice. These include the Persian Wars, Athens in the 5th century BC where they invented democracy and many other features of life that we not take for granted. The life of Julius Caesar, the story of another hero, Aeneas, the eruption of Vesuvius and the extraordinary burial and accidental rediscovery of the lost city of Pompeii with the eerie snapshot it gives us into the lives of its citizens on the 24th August 79AD are also covered. There is even a Philosophy topic centred on the fascinating personality of Socrates and his trial in Athens.

The basis for this subject is the fact that the western world in its politics, buildings, art, education and outlook on life begins here, in Greece and Rome all those years ago. We cannot understand who we are unless we look back to where we came from.

Above all this is a story based subject, and all of the best things we can learn are in good stories. So, if you like learning which is fun and really makes you think, Classical Studies is for you.

Technical Graphics

Technical Graphics is the newer name for Mechanical Drawing and is really a more formalised form of Art. Basically, it demands neat accurate drawing using T-squares, setsquares and boards.   It helps to develop a student’s dexterity and neatness and can be very rewarding. It suits boys and girls, both as a school subject and in later life, where it compliments many careers in engineering, interior design, graphics and dress designing to name a few.

Those who took Mechanical Drawing in the past will probably think of woodwork joints – forget it! – not a joint in sight in the newer course, which is based on graphical work.

The present course involves:

  • Some basic geometrical constructions and model making. 
  • Pictorial drawings using isometric, axonometric and oblique projections and some perspective drawing. These are less difficult than they sound and help the student to think in three dimensions.
  • Graphical design involving freehand and measured drawings used for design work of company and product logos, sports symbols, and sequential diagrams – a series of drawings to explain the construction or use of a wide range of products without the need of multilingual translation.       
  • Some drawings are in puzzle-form, which must be solved to finish them. This again helps the student’s spatial awareness.
  • Computer Aided Design forms part of the course. We are fortunate to have our classroom furnished with 20 computers and the industry standard softwares, AutoCAD 2002 and Solidworks. If he or she is keen they may then take the City and Guilds examination in Transition Year.

Technical Graphics leads into Design & Communication Graphics at Leaving Certificate. Design and Communication Graphics is the new look for technical drawing. It consists of the original core of the syllabus but includes 3-D Computer Drawing and a project-based assessment.