The Primary School Curriculum was developed by the NCCA (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment) and launched in 1999.

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum incorporates the child centred principles of its predecessor, Curaclam na Bunscoile (1971). It identifies three primary aims of primary education:

  • to enable the child to live a full life as a child and to realise his or her potential as a unique individual
  • to enable the child to develop as a social being through living and co-operating with others and so contribute to the good of society
  • to prepare the child for further education and lifelong learning.

The curriculum is learner-centred. It emphasises the importance of literacy, numeracy, and language, while at the same time responding to changing needs in science and technology, social personal and health education, and citizenship.

The curriculum is presented in six subject areas comprising 11 subjects. The development and implementation of the curriculum in religious education in primary schools remains the responsibility of the relevant patron bodies.

Primary School Curriculum
Areas Subjects
Language English, Gaeilge
Social Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE) History, Geography, Science
Arts Education Visual Arts, Drama, Music
Physical Education  
Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)

Key aims, principles and features of the curriculum are explained in the Introduction and they underpin teaching and learning in all curriculum subjects. Curriculum documents (which contain content objectives and strands/strand units) and teacher guidelines are provided for each curriculum subject. In its totality, the Primary School Curriculum aims to enable children to meet, with self-confidence and assurance, the demands of life, both now and in the future (Introduction, p.6).

For a full outline of the national curriculum, please go to