Leaving Certificate Applied Programme
Background to the LCA:
The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct, self-contained two-year programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life. The programme puts an emphasis on forms of achievement and excellence which the established Leaving Certificate has not recognised in the past. It is an innovative programme in the way students learn, in what they learn and in the way their achievements are assessed.
The LCA is intended to meet the needs of those students who are not adequately catered for by other Leaving Certificate programmes or who choose not to opt for such programmes.
The advantage of the Leaving Certificate Applied is that it focuses on the talents of each individual student and helps students to apply what they learn in the real world. The two-year programme consists of four half-year blocks called sessions and achievements are credited in each of these sessions.
LCA in Kilrush Community School:
The LCA was introduced in KCS to recognise the talents of all students and to provide those not adequately catered for by the traditional Leaving Certificate with opportunities for development in terms of responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. The programme was introduced in 2002 and at present, there is one LCA class…LCA 1.
Programme Coordinator: Ms Susanne Whelan
Class Tutor: Ms Sarah Cahill
Students in KCS are selected for the LCA based on their suitability for the programme. The selection process involves:
- Liaising with pupils’ parents/guardians => an Information Session on the programme is provided for parents and students
- Discussions with key personnel => Third Year Class Tutors, the Year Tutor and core Subject Teachers….along with the school’s Guidance Counsellor, Home-School-Community Liaison Officer and the School Completion Programme Coordinatoran application form => a written
- Application form must be completed in respect of each student intending to enrol in the LCA programme.
Upon successful application, parents/guardians and students will then sign a contract….where they will acknowledge and agree to abide by the specific requirements of the LCA programme.
The following is an example of the subjects offered by Kilrush Community School in the LCA programme….however, these may vary depending on the suitability/needs of the cohort in question:
- Vocational Preparation & Guidance
- English and Communication
- Mathematical Applications
- Information Technology
Two Vocational Specialisms
- Craft & Design
- Arts Education => Visual Arts
- Social Education
- Spanish [Year 1]
- Gaeilge [Year 2]
Leisure and Recreation
Two Elective Courses:
- Religious Education
Students partake in one day of work experience each week…..currently, this happens every Thursday.
The seven tasks completed by students are as follows:
- General Education Task
- Vocational Preparation Task
- Vocational Education Task [x 2]
- Contemporary Issues Task
- Practical Achievement Task
- Personal Reflection Task
The LCA programme uses a unique system of assessment. Students’ work is assessed over the two years of the programme and they gain credit as they go along, provided that they have a minimum of 90% attendance. Practical work, interviews and terminal written papers are among the different forms of assessment used. Additionally, students must complete seven student tasks [as outlined above] that bring together the different learning experiences that they have gained from the courses they have taken.
As students complete the programme, they collect credits….to a possible maximum of 200:
- a maximum of 62 credits [31%] are awarded for completing the required courses
- 10 credits for each of the seven student tasks completed [70 credits; 35%]
- 68 credits [34%] in total for the terminal examinations at the end of Year 2 [or in the case of some subjects, e.g. Spanish, at the end of Year 1.]
The Leaving Certificate Applied is awarded at three levels:
- Pass [60 – 69%; 120 – 139 credits]
- Merit [70 – 84%; 140 – 169 credits]
- Distinction [85 – 100%; 170 – 200 credits]