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Leaving Certificate Applied
Over 3,400 students receiving their Leaving Certificate results today will be spared the stress of converting their results into points, because they have chosen to do the Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme, which is offered as an alternative to the established Leaving Certificate programme in hundreds of school around the country.
The LCA was developed because of concerns that the established Leaving Certificate programme did not meet the needs of all students.
The LCA is a separate stand-alone programme of two years' duration, with a particular emphasis on preparing students for adult and working life. Since the Leaving Certificate Applied is not directly useful for entry to third-level colleges, the question of CAO points does not apply to it.
The focus of the two-year programme is three-fold, concentrating on vocational preparation, vocational education and general education. It caters for students who prefer the practical approach to the purely academic approach, and the programme concentrates more on learning through doing. Students have a choice of modules of study, and they also choose from a range of vocational specialisms. The study modules include areas like Agriculture/Horticulture, Hotel, Catering and Tourism; Engineering; Technology; Office Administration and Customer Care; Childcare/Community Care; Graphics and Construction studies; Craft and Design; Hair and Beauty; Information and Communications Technology; and Active Leisure Studies.
Assessment takes place over the two years of the programme under three headings: (1) satisfactory completion of modules (62 credits); (2) performance of student tasks (70 credits) and, (3) performance in terminal examinations (68 credits).
Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded the Leaving Certificate (Applied). The certificate is awarded at three levels depending on the number of credits gained. Students with 120-139 credits will receive a Pass award. The next level of award is a Merit, (140-169 credits). Finally students who achieve 170-200 credits will be awarded a Distinction. Students with less than 120 credits receive a record of achievement.
LCA students may use the LCA to move on to further and higher education through further education (FE) courses and to many areas of employment. The LCA is acceptable for direct entry to apprenticeships, and for courses offered by Failte Ireland. LCA holders with a merit or distinction are eligible to apply to the Garda Siochana.
Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme
People sometimes confuse the Leaving Certificate Vocational (LCVP) with the Leaving Certificate Applied, but they are two separate programmes. The LCVP is designed to give a strong vocational dimension to the established Leaving Certificate programme. Students take the LCVP with at least five established Leaving Certificate subjects.
The LCVP may be counted as a sixth subject for points purposes. Results are awarded in three grades, Distinction, Merit or Pass.