Gary McConway
Gary McConway
Team Leader
Business Studies

Welcome to the Business Studies section of the website. Our aim is to provide information and resources to support you in using the Junior Cycle Business Studies Specification in planning for effective teaching and learning in your classroom.

September 2016 will see the introduction of the Junior Cycle Business Studies Specification. The specification stipulates the learning expectations for students through 37 learning outcomes across the 3 strands of Personal Finance, Enterprise and Our Economy. The 3 strands are interconnected and weave together, to provide students with a rich understanding of the business environment and opportunities to develop skills for life, work and further study.

The specification provides teachers with flexibility to provide context to their teaching in providing students with opportunities to learn how they dynamically interact with their local communities, their economy and the global world around them.

Subject knowledge is now being supplemented by the development of skills and values – where learners will not just remember and repeat information, but locate, evaluate and use information effectively. As a result, learners will develop the capacity to become successful and responsible world citizens, equipped to identify opportunities and make informed decisions that make a positive difference to their lives and the lives of others.

Along this journey, the JCT Business Studies team will provide one full day CPD for teachers of Business Studies in preparation for them beginning their teaching through the specification in September 2016. Thereafter, the JCT Business Studies Team will be developing CPD based on the expressed needs of teachers. Online supports will be developed and added to the website including materials from CPD events.

If you require any further information please provide detail on the form below
JCT Support Enquiry Form

Feedback Day 1 here
Feedback Day 2 here

If you would like regular updates on the supports and resources available, please join our mailing list using the link below.

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Latest News

January - March 2017

Our Business Studies team are looking forward to delivering Business Studies CPD Day2 as part of the Cluster model. Our Day 2 is informed by the feedback received from teachers and further supports the new Specification for Business Studies.
The response to the day from the initial delivered in the first term was overwhelming positive.

CPD day 2 centres on the following themes:

• Exploring the Business Studies specification and deepening teachers understanding of Classroom-Based Assessments with particular emphasis placed on the first CBA entitled ‘Business in Action’.
• Teachers collective understanding of a unit of learning is developed through their experience of rich student learning activities relating to the consumer.
• Exploring formative feedback and how feedback provides an opportunity for student reflection to support learning
• Business Studies departments are provided with the space and support to plan for the creation of units of learning which they may use going forward.
All resources for day 1 and day 2 of Business Studies CPD are available on the JCT website www.jct.ie under the Business Studies section. The team is looking forward to meeting and supporting teachers over the coming weeks.

November - December 2016

The Business Studies team are busy working on organising schedules for CPD Day 1 for teachers who were unable to attend last year and also working on the schedule for CPD Day 2 delivery for the academic year 2016/2017.

All schedules will appear on the website www.jct.ie and a Letter of Invitation will be issued to all schools.

All the resources for Day 1 of Business Studies CPD are available here on the website under the section ‘Workshops’, you will find the links to the three parts of the CPD Day 1. These will offer clear guidance on how to get started and interacting with the new Business Studies Specification. Particularly useful is part 3 which examines the area of specific Units of Learning. Samples are also provided in the Planning section of the website. A sample plan for implementation with a 1st year group is available in the Resource Booklet which partners the CPD Day 1 (see page 27).

All the resources pertaining to CPD Day 2 will be available here in the new year.

Recently we have added to our website some resources which will be particularly useful when planning for junior cycle Business Studies. They are four screencasts on the following areas:

  1. An introduction to the Business Studies Specification
  2. Student learning journey
  3. Creating a unit of learning
  4. Working with learning outcomes

Regarding methods/strategies which may be used in the delivery of the Business Studies specification, a wide array of strategies are described in the area of Whole School, which you can access from the home page by clicking on the link ‘Classroom Strategies’.

Hope you will find the information on the website very useful and look forward to seeing you on the road…

September / October 2016

September 2016 is a momentous time for all first year Business Studies students and teachers as it marks the introduction of the new Business Studies Specification in schools. The new Specification aims to stimulate students’ interest in the business environment and how they interact with it.

The Business Studies team delivered the first CPD day last year and are actively preparing for CPD day 2. This second CPD day is being informed by feedback provided by teachers and our Associate teachers working in classrooms across Ireland. Day two will centre on teaching, assessment and learning. In March, the NCCA published ‘Junior Cycle Business Studies - the Guidelines for Classroom Based Assessments and Assessment Task’ and this provides more detailed material and sets out the practical arrangements relating to the Classroom Based Assessments.

Our team are pleased to be invited to present a workshop at the Business Studies Teachers Association of Ireland (BSTAI) conference, taking place in the Lyrath Conference Centre in Kilkenny on the 22nd October 2016. This workshop entitled ‘Junior Cycle – navigating the first year’ will focus on the key aspects relating to the new Specification. Hope to see you there!!!

Key Support documentation for Teachers include:

  • Framework for Junior Cycle – 2015

  • Junior Cycle Business Studies - Curriculum Specification.

  • Assessment Toolkits

  • Junior Cycle Business Studies – Guidelines for the Classroom-Based Assessments and Assessment Task.

Business Studies Mail Letter

Upcoming Events

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q.1 Why have we gone from a Business Studies syllabus to a Business Studies Specification? What’s the difference?

    A specification is a broader document than a syllabus. It has been developed by the NCCA and is embedded in the overall Framework for Junior Cycle. The Business Studies Specification outlines how the learning in Junior Cycle Business Studies is linked to particular statements of learning and key skills in the Framework for Junior Cycle. It provides a rationale and aims for Junior Cycle Business Studies. The learning for students is specified through learning outcomes which are spread over three strands. It also includes information about and rationale for ongoing assessment and reporting in Business Studies, including assessment arrangements for the JCPA. The Business Studies specification is designed to be used as a guide for collaborative and classroom planning. A full copy of the Junior Cycle Business Studies Specification can be accessed here –

  • Q.2 How is the learning organised in the Business Studies Specification?

    The change in junior cycle Business Studies is part of the overall reform of the Junior Cycle curriculum. The Framework for Junior Cycle aims to place students at the centre of the educational experience by providing a broad and balanced education that is both a progression from primary education and a preparation for senior cycle and lifelong learning. The changes you and your students will experience in the Business Studies classroom will be similar to those in other subjects. The changes in Business Studies are detailed in the subject specification for Junior Cycle Business Studies. In the specification, the learning to be experienced by students of Business Studies is described in 37 learning outcomes spread across 3 strands, Personal finance, Enterprise, Our economy.

    Personal finance focuses on students developing a set of skills, knowledge and values that allows them to make informed decisions to effectively and responsibly manage their financial resources.

    Enterprise encourages students to identify opportunities and turn them into practical and targeted activities within business and wider society through the development and application of their understanding, skills and values. It develops students’ basic understanding of the financial, marketing and operational functions of an organisation.

    Our economy enables students to understand the dynamic relationship between the local, national and international economic situation. It develops students’ ability to identify and understand basic economic concepts as they relate to personal finance, enterprise and the Irish economy.

  • Q.3 What are the changes in assessment for Junior Cycle Business Studies?

    The most significant change in the new junior cycle is in the area of assessment. A dual approach to assessment, involving Classroom-Based Assessment across the three years, complemented by summative assessment elements, will be a key feature of the new Junior Cycle.
    The assessment of Business Studies for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise two Classroom-based Assessments (CBA). CBA-1 Business in Action will take place toward the end of second year, while CBA-2 Presentation will take place at the end of term one of third year. In addition, the second Classroom-Based Assessment will have a written Assessment Task that will be marked, along with the final assessment, by the State Examinations Commission (SEC). There will be one examination paper at a common level, set by the SEC. The examination will be no longer than two hours in duration and will take place at the end of third year. To find out more about these changes, go to the assessment section of our website.

    Further information on assessment from NCCA here… of our website.

  • Q.4 Will there be additional supports in terms of time?

    Business Studies teachers will be provided with 8 hours of professional time during the first year of implementation of the Specification in 2016/17. This time will be provided through additional paid substitution hours allocated to the school. From 2017 onwards, teachers will be provided with weekly amounts of professional time for junior cycle related activities through a reduction in teaching time (40 minutes per school week for a full-time teacher), as outlined in the appendix to the joint statement on principles and implementation of Junior Cycle Reform in July 2015.

  • Q.5 What supports are available for Business Studies teachers? Are they available as Gaeilge?

    JCT will provide you with a multitude of supports. Our approach to supporting Business Studies teachers is one that will be onsite, online and ongoing.
    Onsite: Core CPD is provided for all teachers in Education Centres. Elective CPD opportunities will be informed by teachers’ needs. All materials from our core and elective workshops will be available under ‘CPD supports’ in the Business Studies section of our website.

    Online: The Business Studies section of our website will provide supports for teachers in the following areas: Resources: Along with providing resources used during our workshops the team will be developing classroom resources which will be available on our website. Assessment: up to the minute information and guidance in relation to ongoing assessment in Junior Cycle Business Studies, including assessment for the JCPA.

    News and events: information about upcoming CPD opportunities, links to our most recent JCT Business Studies newsletters.
    Planning: resources and guidelines on planning for Junior Cycle Business Studies We also aim to engage with Business Studies teachers through various online supports.
    Ongoing: Our support for you will not begin and end in an Education Centre. We endeavour to be responsive to your needs and to continue our engagement with you throughout the process of implementation of the Business Studies Specification over the coming years. We are here to listen to your concerns and CPD needs and we look forward to working with you to realise the aims of Junior Cycle Business Studies. Many JCT resources, both onsite and online, will be available in Irish. Core CPD for Business Studies teachers from Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna will be provided through the medium of Irish.

  • Q.6 How do I embrace principles, statements of learning and key skills while I’m teaching a Business Studies class?

    The key skills are embedded in the learning outcomes. This means that if you plan and teach from the learning outcomes, you have already begun to develop the key skills. For example, the key skills of ‘communicating’ and ‘managing information and thinking’ are embedded in learning outcomes such as Enterprise Learning Outcome 2.7: Conduct market research in order to investigate an entrepreneurial opportunity and analyse, interpret and communicate the research findings using relevant terminology and representations.
    Key skills really come to life in the methodologies you use. For example, while ‘working with others’ is a key skill, the techniques we use to get students working together; the extent to which students have clear guidance on what they’re expected to do; how long they have to do it; acceptable behaviour etc. will all contribute to how well they develop the skill of working with others. There are 24 statements of learning in the Framework for Junior Cycle, which are underpinned by the 8 principles for junior cycle. The school must ensure that students have opportunities to access all 24 statements across their junior cycle education. Of these 24 statements, 6 are set out in the specification as being specifically relevant to the subject of Business Studies. These 6 statements of learning are realised in the 37 learning outcomes of the Business Studies specification.

  • Q.7 How do I work with learning outcomes in my classroom?

    Learning outcomes are curriculum statements written for teachers. It would, therefore, be advisable to adapt them into student-friendly language. Sharing student-friendly learning intentions will help to give students a sense of purpose as they work through a lesson and will help them build understanding.
    Example: Personal finance 1.5: Identify reasons for saving and borrowing money, relate the reasons to determining appropriate sources of finance with respect to their purpose, costs and risks.

    In this case you might be placing a focus on one aspect of a learning outcome. The student-friendly learning intention might become ‘We are learning about saving and the places where we can save our money.’ Providing students with learning intentions gives them a clear focus and direction for their learning.

    Alternatively you may want to work with a particular aspect of a learning outcome in first year, revisit it in second and again in third year, extracting different learning intentions for your students. For example, Strand 3 Our economy 3.2 Explain how individuals, organisations (for profit and not-for-profit) and the government work together to distribute economic resources used to produce goods and services. In first year you may want to focus on the flow of money from the individual’s perspective, in second year you could examine it from an organisation’s point of view and in third year study the role the government has to play.

  • Q.8 How can we ensure common learning in Business Studies when the learning outcomes are so broad?

    Whilst the specification in junior cycle allows flexibility for teachers, it does not give total freedom. As you begin to unpack the learning outcomes you will see the knowledge, understanding skills and values are well defined. As such, there is a common level of understanding that all students will be expected to attain and demonstrate through multiple modes of ongoing and summative assessments. The flexibility lies in how you develop students’ skills and attitudes in arriving at this understanding and this is dependent on your own local context.

  • Q.9 I have concerns around Common Level. Will Common Level specifications be suitable for students of a wide range of ability?

    Business Studies is one of 18 subjects set at Common Level. This has the advantage of ensuring that students are not directed into a particular level of learning at too early a stage in their academic and personal development. “This approach will enable students to have the opportunity to achieve to their highest possible level so that they have greater options available to them at senior cycle, including studying at higher level in the Leaving Certificate examination.” (Framework for Junior Cycle) As is the case with existing syllabuses at primary level, post-primary level and third level, the subject specifications will be designed to adequately cater for the needs of students of a range of abilities. Specifications will be designed to ensure that the more able student is appropriately challenged while still allowing students of all abilities to demonstrate achievement.

  • Q.10 If Junior Cycle Business Studies is changing, what about senior cycle?

    Students will be coming into senior cycle with deeper levels of business knowledge, understanding, skills and values as a result of the learning they will experience in the new junior cycle classroom. This will not only support them for senior cycle Accounting, Business and Economics but also help to empower them to become lifelong learners.