Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA)

LCA is an established programme in BCS since 2003. It has been very successful for our pupils over the years and has allowed them to take up apprenticeships and PLC courses after school where they have achieved 3rd level qualifications. Pupils create good employment contacts during their weekly work experience which has proved invaluable after school. Pupils greatly benefit from small class sizes and continual assessment format.

What is the Leaving Certificate Applied?

Leaving Certificate Applied is a two-year Leaving Certificate Programme, aimed at preparing pupils for adult and working life. It provides pupils with a varied range of subjects which will give them practical and certified qualifications. It emphasises forms of achievement and excellence which the established Leaving Cert has not recognised in the past.

Who should do Leaving Certificate Applied?

•who wants to stay in school and get a Leaving Certificate.
•who prefers learning by doing.
•who would be motivated by continuous assessment.
•who wants to get work experience to help them with career choice.
•who wants to develop skills which help them in their future career.

What is the advantage of the Leaving Certificate Applied?

The advantage of Leaving Certificate Applied is that it focuses on the talents of each individual student and helps students 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. Therefore, pupils have continual assessment towards their final qualification.

How Do I Enter the Course?

After Easter in 3rd year and TY, students are given information about Leaving Certificate Applied and Application forms are filled in. An information night for parents is held in conjunction with the Senior Options Information Night. An interview then follows.

Do students have a choice within the Leaving Certificate Applied?

Each course consists of several modules. A module generally represents a half-year’s work and there is provision for some choice of modules. Choice also exists in relation to Vocational Specialisms, which are changed yearly depending on the group. Pupils carry out practical tasks which are assessed by interviews by the Department of Education twice a year. A more detailed account of LCA subjects can be found at Careers Portal.

Do Leaving Certificate Applied students receive a Leaving Certificate?

Yes. Students who successfully complete the programme will receive a Leaving Certificate from the State Examinations Commission. All credits awarded will be recorded on the Leaving Certificate Applied parchment.

What happens after the Leaving Certificate?

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.
There are many areas of study – Art/Design, Business, Science, Services/Leisure and Communications/Media studies.
PLC courses can lead on to an award recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). You can find out if your course is recognised by NFQ.
Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied cannot gain direct entry through the Central Applications Office (CAO) system to the universities or institutes of technology. Many PLC courses lead to either a level 5 or level 6 award. In some cases, you can progress with this award to a third level course in a higher education institution such as, institutes of technology and universities. You should discuss your options for progression with your course provider.
Students cannot go directly to nursing but may be eligible to apply as a mature student with certain qualifications or relevant experience.
Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied can also go on to apprenticeship programmes. Many students go directly to employment.

Leaving Cert Applied Testimonials 2019-2020

“Without LCA I don’t think I would be in school, LCA has really helped me with my anxiety as we have smaller classes and have more one on one time with teachers. It has also helped me with a lot of personal issues, we are treated more like adults and are respected a lot more than other years. We are constantly being assessed so we don’t have big exams. We learn a lot throughout our assignments. We have a lot more opportunities in terms of Work Experience. We have a voice and I feel more confident and accepted”.

“What I like about LCA is that we get a day of on a Friday to do Work Experience. There are smaller classes which I find really good. We don’t get much homework, that’s what like most”.

“What’s working well when it comes to LCA is you have more time with your teachers. The classes are smaller which makes it easier for you to learn and get on well in school. LCA helps you to become more mature. It gives you a better idea of what you want to do when your done school which is good because in normal leaving cert you wouldn’t have enough time”.

“Work Experience – getting experience about what work is what I like. Doing interviews, not everything written in exams and gaining experience by doing interviews as tests is great. Having a smaller number of students in class makes me feel that I be more comfortable coming to school and get work done.”

“When I first came into LCA, I was a very shy and quiet child and was not achieving in a big class, but over the past two years in LCA I have become more outgoing in the class and more comfortable talking in front of a group of people. I have started achieving better grades in my subjects and have matured in my personality and my decisions as I am treated like an adult and not as a child that knows nothing. We are given more of a life experience in LCA as we do Work Experience every Friday and we do important subjects such as Hotel and Catering, Agricultural Horticulture and more”.

“I like that there is Work Experience every Friday. In LCA its continuous assessment, so basically you earn marks on pretty much a lot of stuff, you get marks on tasks, key assignments so it’s not all marks going on the big leaving cert test at the end of the two years. I like that there are a lot of practical stuff instead of writing all the time and it is easier than the traditional leaving cert but there is still a lot of work involved and you learn more”.

“L.C.A is an easier way out of school for me. It got me into the working world and I think that was the biggest benefit. Work Experience is the main thing that I’m interested in right now, it’s made it easy for me to save for my car and lessons”.

“I find that it’s fairly good in the way it works as a whole, we have the day off on a Friday to go to Work Experience. There are less people in the class so you get to know everyone better and I find you get on with your teachers more than normal, since you get to know them on a more personal level. I find that I’m better as a person in some ways from doing the Hotel and Catering (cooking) and the group work in 5th year made me some bit social instead of talking to the same people all the time”.

“In many ways LCA means different things. Leaving Cert Applied has given me so many opportunities – I am so shocked I have come this far. As someone who dealt with mental health issues over the years, I would not have thought I would still be in school with stress of exams, making friends etc. Leaving Cert Applied has supported me with my problems in a personal way as well as in being a student in this program. This really did benefit me for the long-term affect. Since I’ve been young, I have struggled with many things with school such as big groups, learning method, friends etc. Since I’ve been able to do LCA all these troubles have changed. I’ve gotten the chance to work in an atmosphere in a small group setting and this works very well for me. I’m able to connect with people a lot more with small groups and mainly I’m able to communicate with my teachers a lot better and have a better relationship with them too. Since as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with learning homework and notes off because till last year I found out how I learn. By the help of one of my teachers I was able to do a test to figure out what was my strongest method of learning. Since I’ve found this out I’ve been able to adapt this to my work, tests and results, I’ve come up better in grades since and feel more confident in my work now. Also, with my struggles with friends I feel more comfortable in my group of LCA than I ever have because there’s more time to talk, more time to relate to others and be there for each other as a family. Lastly LCA helps us find out and learn what we want to do in the future as a job, in many classes we would research about things we personally like and this helps us to get a bigger and better picture of how we can make this happen”.