There are three distinct programmes that can be followed. While the outcomes of each programme are quite distinct, each is intended to reinforce the principals of secondary education; to prepare the student for education, society and work.



  • Established Leaving Certificate: The Established Leaving Certificate, introduced in 1924, is the most common programme taken. A minimum of six subjects are presented, including compulsory Irish; most students take six or seven subjects. Students are not obliged to take English and Maths; however these have become essential subjects, primarily due to college and university admission policies. Similarly, in recent years a modern European language is often studied by many students as universities increasingly require it and also to broaden options.




  • Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme: The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, introduced in 1989, is similar to the established programme. The student takes at least five traditional subjects, one of which must be Irish. Two of the student's subjects must be part of one of a list of  Vocational subject groupings. They must also study a modern European language and two Link Modules, Preparation for the World of Work and Enterprise Education. The programme is designed to help the student find their potential for self-directed learning, innovation and enterprise.



  • Leaving Certificate Applied: The Leaving Certificate Applied, introduced in 1995, is taken to prepare the student for adult and working life. It consists of three elements. These are General Education, Vocational Education and Vocational Preparation. It is designed to emphasize areas of achievement and excellence which are not catered for by traditional academic programmes.