The Leaving Certificate Applied
The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct, self-contained two-year Leaving Certificate programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life.
The programme sets out to recognise the talents of all students and to provide opportunities for developing personal responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. The programme focuses on the talents of each student and helps students apply what they learn to the real world.
The two-year programme consists of four half-year blocks called sessions. Achievements are credited in each session.
Courses are offered in three main areas:
• Vocational preparation, involving work experience, enterprise and communication
• General education, offering lifeskills, the arts, social education, leisure and language
• Vocational education.
Each course consists of a number of modules. Each module takes place over half a year. There is also a wide range of practical courses, called vocational specialisms, from which the student can choose. 90% attendance is required by the Department of Education and Skills.
Assessment and examinations
Assessment is continuous throughout the course and there is a final examination.
Assessment takes place on the completion of modules and practical activities that allow the student to integrate the learning from different courses.
The final examination must be taken in the following areas:
• English and communication
• Two vocational specialisms
• Mathematical applications
• Social education.
There are written and oral examinations in all languages. There are practical examinations in the vocational specialisms. The written examinations take place in June, at the same time as the examinations for the established Leaving Certificate.
The certificate awarded
Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a Leaving Certificate from the Department of Education and Skills. The certificate is awarded at three levels:
Level Marks and Credits Required
Pass 60-69% (120-139 credits)
Merit 70-84% (140-169 credits)
Distinction 85-100% (170-200 credits)
Candidates who get less than 60% (120 credits) or who do not complete the course, are awarded a record of experience.
A pass in the Leaving Certificate Applied is the equivalent of 6 Grade Ds at Ordinary Level in the established Leaving Certificate.
Eligibility for further education and third-level courses.
A student who has been awarded the Leaving Certificate Applied can go on to a very wide range of Post-Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs). These are available in local post-primary schools and colleges.
The PLC courses can lead on to a National Certificate Level 2 (FETAC Level 2). These are generally one-year full-time courses. There are also some part-time courses that can be taken over a longer period.
There are more than 50 awards available in five broad areas - Art/Design, Business, Science, Services/Leisure and Communications/Media studies.
Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied cannot gain direct entry through the Central Applications Office (CAO) system to the universities or Colleges of Technology.
However, those who get a Further Education and Training Awards (FETAC) Level 2 award can be eligible for some third-level courses in the Institutes of Technology and through these to some degree programmes.
Students cannot go directly to nursing but may be eligible to apply as a mature student with certain FETAC qualifications or relevant experience.
Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied can also go on to FÁS Apprenticeship programmes. Many students go directly to employment.
The fee for entry for school-based students of the Leaving Certificate Applied for 2010 is €109.
Candidates who hold a current medical card or who are dependent on a parent or guardian who holds a current medical card are exempt from paying examination fees. Applicants who are claiming exemption from fees on this basis must provide medical card details to the Commission. Applications from external candidates received after 29 January 2010 are subject to late fees even if the initial fee has been waived.