The Leaving Certificate Applied programme has been developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment. This programme is part of the expanded senior cycle provision designed to cater for the diversity of participants’ needs. The fundamental goal of the Leaving Certificate Applied is to prepare Leaving Certificate participants for transition from the world of the school/centre to that of adult and working life. This transition is complex and demanding for a variety of reasons
• patterns, and the qualities, aptitudes and personal skills required in the work- place have changed
• participants are remaining longer in formal education and in training than heretofore and the period of transition is also more lengthy
• in addition to the challenges in relation to education, training and jobs, participants are also faced with related, social, personal and cultural issues.
It is essential that the talents of all Leaving Certificate participants are recognised and that they are afforded an opportunity to develop in terms of responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. Participants should also develop communication and decision making skills so as to achieve a more independent and enterprising approach to learning and to life.
The suitability of the Leaving Certificate (Established) to adequately meet the needs of all Leaving Certificate participants has been subject to question. In the interests of equity it is important that the various needs of participants at the post-compulsory stage of education are provided for. The Leaving Certificate Applied has evolved from curriculum development projects aimed at strengthening the technological/vocational options and the development of personal skills at senior cycle.
The Leaving Certificate Applied focuses on the needs and interests of participants, using a variety of methodologies, making optimum use of the resources of the local community and paying particular attention to the needs of the local region. There is a need to recognise that individuals differ considerably in the ways they process, assimilate and recall information. The Junior Certificate provides the foundation for this development and continuity from this programme is an important guiding consideration.
The use of active teaching and learning methodologies across the curriculum promotes those qualities that are fundamental to the development of an individual with an enterprising outlook: self confidence, responsibility, co-operation, teamwork, problem solving, independence, decision making, initiative. Work experience and work simulation provides an important opportunity to apply and further develop these qualities.
Effective implementation of the Leaving Certificate Applied requires the active support of the principal, senior management and the whole school/centre as an institution.