1st Year Curriculum


We offer lots of different subjects here at Firhouse ETSS. First Year is a great time to explore lots of different subjects. You will find yourself both developing further in subjects that you did in primary school, while also trying out subjects that are totally new to you. Our hope is that our students get to experience a wide range of subjects, something that will stand to them as they move through school and make decisions around subject choices.

Watch our video below which gives you an overview of the First Year Curriculum!

Core Subjects in First Year


English in junior cycle aims to develop students’ knowledge of language and literature, to consolidate and deepen their literacy skills and make them more self-aware as learners.More specifically it encourages all students:

  • to be creative through language and to gain enjoyment and continuing personal growth from English in all its forms

  • to develop control over English using it and responding to it with purpose and effect through the interconnected literacy skills of oral language, reading and writing

  • to engage personally with and think critically about an increasingly broad range of spoken, written and multimodal texts

  • to develop an informed appreciation of literature through personal encounters with a variety of literary texts

  • to use their literacy skills to manage information needs, and find, use, synthesise, evaluate and communicate information using a variety of media

  • to gain an understanding of the grammar and conventions of English and how they might be used to promote clear and effective communication

Here is a suggested reading list for 1st Year students with lots of fantastic recommendations!


Irish at junior cycle aims to consolidate and deepen students' understanding of Irish. Students are enabled to communicate in an effective, interactive, confident manner in formal and informal settings in the language community. Junior Cycle Irish seeks to consolidate and develop the skills students bring to post-primary school. Students are empowered to assume ownership of Irish; an important life skill.Students are encouraged to:

  • use language effectively and confidently, both personally and in communicating with other users in the language community

  • enjoy creative and innovative communication in Irish

  • appreciate Irish and have a desire both to speak it and use it

  • express themselves through consolidation of their literacy skills

  • attempt to use newly-learned language aspects

  • engage with a wide range of texts in various ways, for learning, research, and recreation

  • have an appreciation and respect for literature in Irish so that they may enjoy literature and benefit from it

  • gain a better understanding of Irish culture and have respect and understanding for other cultures and languages.


Maths focuses on developing students’ ability to think logically, strategically, critically, and creatively, while empowering individuals to become critical citizens through the exploration of:

  • Numbers

  • Geometry & Trigonometry

  • Algebra & Functions

  • Statistics & Probability

  • Unifying strand.

These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematics to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.


The study of history at junior cycle aims to enable students to develop the necessary conceptual understanding, disciplinary skills and subject knowledge to investigate the actions of people in the past and to come to a deeper understanding of the human condition. Students also come to see the world, and their place in it, from a historical perspective; and understand how the people and events of the past have shaped the contemporary world.The study of history instils in students a respect for integrity, objectivity and looking at issues from different perspectives. This capacity for critical thinking helps them to interrogate sources of evidence and make judgements about the viewpoint expressed, including the capacity to identify propaganda.



Modern Foreign Languages aims to enable students to explore the interdependence between language and culture, to develop their appreciation of the relevance of languages to their lives for personal, social, educational, vocational and leisure purposes, and to derive enjoyment from language learning.More specifically it encourages all students to:

  • actively engage in language activities and tasks, developing the capacity to understand written and spoken language

  • communicate effectively and confidently in the target language in familiar contexts through a range of media

  • develop their capacity to use appropriate structures and vocabulary for the purposes of communication, both written and oral

  • enjoy a language-learning experience that will facilitate and encourage them to continue learning languages in future


Geography focuses on developing students' knowledge and skills to explore and understand the world around them. This is achieved through the study of three main areas:

  • Exploring people, place and change

  • Exploring the physical world

  • Exploring how we interact with the physical world.

Students will create case studies and projects that focus on a range of geographical areas. We aim to focus on interpersonal skills and personal accountability, hoping that through independent learning students will find a love of geography.


Science in junior cycle aims to develop students’ evidence-based understanding of the natural world and their ability to gather and evaluate evidence: to consolidate and deepen their skills of working scientifically; to make them more self-aware as learners and become competent and confident in their ability to use and apply science in their everyday lives.More specifically it encourages all students:

  • to develop a sense of enjoyment in the learning of science, leading to a lifelong interest in science

  • to develop scientific literacy and apply this in cognitive, affective and psychomotor dimensions to the analysis of science issues relevant to society, the environment and sustainability

  • to develop a scientific habit of mind and inquiry orientation through class, laboratory and/ or off-site activities that foster investigation, imagination, curiosity and creativity in solving engaging, relevant problems, and to improve their reasoning and decision-making abilities

  • to develop the key skills of junior cycle to find, use, manage, synthesise, and evaluate data; to communicate scientific understanding and findings using a variety of media; and to justify ideas on the basis of evidence

  • to acquire a body of scientific knowledge; to develop an understanding of Earth and space and their place in the physical, biological, and chemical world and to help establish a foundation for more advanced learning.

Ethical Education

Ethical Education aims to extend and hone students’ ability to explore, question, understand and reflect critically on their own values, beliefs, worldviews and those of others and to develop their skills to communicate effectively and respectfully and act ethically.

Wellbeing Subjects in First Year


The short course in CSPE aims to inform, inspire, empower and enable young people to participate as active citizens in contemporary society at local, national and global levels, based on an understanding of human rights and social responsibilities.


This short course aims to develop students’ positive sense of themselves and their physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. It also aims to build the capacity of young people to develop and maintain healthy relationships.


The short course in physical education aims to develop students as knowledgeable, skilful and creative participants who are confident and competent to perform in a range of activities safely. The course aims to build students’ appreciation of the importance of health-enhancing and inclusive physical activity and a commitment to it now, and in the future.

Let's C!

Let’s C! Creativity | Curiosity | Collaboration is central to our school's learning culture. Students are given the opportunity to engage with their big questions and passions, a variety of different topics and subject areas in a fun, creative and experiential manner. This is an inter-age, inter-class, inter-year learning environment that promotes student voice and flexibility in learning.

Digital Learning

This course aims to extend and refine students’ ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and the internet creatively, critically and safely, in support of their development, learning and capacity to participate effectively in social, school and community life.

Optional Subjects in First Year

Students will get 6 weeks of sampling option subjects at the start of 1st Year. After the taster programme ends in October, students choose 2 subjects.

  • One subject is chosen from line 1: Business Studies, Home Economics, Visual Art and Wood Technology.
  • One other subject is chosen from line 2: Business Studies, Home Economics and Music.

You can see that there will be 2 Business classes running and 2 Home Economics classes running. This is to reflect how popular these subject have become in recent years and to provide more student places in these subjects.

Business Studies

Business Studies - Junior Cycle Description

Business studies aims to stimulate students’ interest in the business environment and how they interact with it. It develops skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that allow them to make informed and responsible decisions with all of the resources available to them, ensuring their and society’s well-being, while becoming more self-aware as learners.

Business studies encourages students to develop skills for learning, skills for work and skills for life. It supports the development of analytical and critical thinking skills, encouraging students to be problem solvers. It reinforces the development of students’ numeracy, literacy and digital technology skills by providing a real-life context for their application.

Home Economics

Home Economics - Junior Cycle Description

Home Economics develops students who are well informed, environmentally conscious and dedicated to a sustainable and responsible way of life through the exploration of three strands:

  • Responsible Family Living

  • Food, Health & Culinary Skills

  • Textiles & Craft

Students develop practical food and health literacy skills, creative design and textile skills while nurturing students’ resourcefulness, innovation, adaptability, and competency as consumers.


Music - Junior Cycle Description

Music aims to contribute to the development of artistic awareness and understanding, self-expression, self-esteem, imagination and multicultural sensitivity, and therefore, to the development of the whole person. Students will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and engage with authentic and original music, that is both theirs and the music of others. In doing so, they will develop the music literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with today’s musical world.

Through engaging with music, students are offered opportunities to develop new skills, while drawing on their previous experiences. These previous experiences are often central to our existence as music is everywhere. From the moment we are born we are in a musical world. Music is a natural early connection between infant and caregivers. International research shows that from the very early months of a child’s life there is a human propensity to respond and engage with music. With music, students can immerse themselves intellectually, emotionally, physically and kinaesthetically in the learning experience. Music performance and composition are collaborative and interpersonal activities, where social skills are developed through the sharing of ideas, skills, or instruments.

Visual Art

Visual Art - Junior Cycle Description

Through practical engagement in the areas of art, craft and design, students will develop self-confidence, inquisitiveness, imagination, and creativity. They will also develop authentic, real-world problem-solving capacities and the capacity to work over time, as an individual and in groups, on the design and execution of artistic and aesthetic tasks.
Students will develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to produce and to engage with authentic and original art, craft and design work. In so doing, they will begin to develop the visual literacy, critical skills and language necessary to engage with contemporary culture. This will further contribute to the students’ understanding of the rich and diverse roles of art, craft and design in historical and contemporary societies and cultures.

Wood Technology

Wood Technology - Junior Cycle Description

The study of Wood Technology at junior cycle aims to:

  • enable students to develop the necessary conceptual understanding, disciplinary skills and subject knowledge to design and create artefacts of value

  • empower students through designing and making, whilst developing an awareness of sustainability and the use of natural resources

  • develop a range of core design skills and relevant manipulation skills through modelling and processing wood and other materials

  • develop the confidence and resilience of students through engagement with the uncertainty of design challenges

  • encourage students’ innovation and creativity through recognition and appreciation of their capacity to design and create.

Short Course choice in First Year

Students will get 6 weeks of sampling short courses at the start of 1st Year. After the taster programme ends in October, students choose 1 short course.

  • One short course is chosen from: Artistic Performance, Climate Action, and, Coding
31 2024
Final Day of School
Join us for our TY Festival of Learning on May 23rd from 17:15 - 18:45! Check out the invitation below.
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Dublin 24,
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