Environmental and Social Studies (ESS) is a student centred syllabus drawing on the disciplines of History, Geography and Civics in a thematic approach to learning. The aims are:
- To develop an understanding of oneself as an individual, as a member of a local, national and European community and of the interdependence of all people
- To develop a respect for the local, national and global environment
- To develop an understanding of the major factors, events and people who have shaped and are currently shaping the world in which we live.
- To develop an awareness of the contrasting opportunities and constraints facing people living in different places and times under different physical and human conditions
- To encourage the development of independent thinking through a variety of activities and experiential learning, using a variety of media to express and communicate what is learned.
The syllabus is divided into three sections. Each section contains a number of topics for study in specified settings.
Topics: Food; Shelter; Energy; Water; Clothing
Introduction to Settlement and Resources
Pre-Christian Ireland and one of the following: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, the Incas
Early Christian Ireland and Viking Ireland and Norman Ireland
Development of Modern Irish Settlement (urban and rural)
2. People in their environment
Themes: Transport, Communication, Planning, Community organisations, Trade unions, Employment, Production and consumption
The Industrial Revolution
Life in a Modern City
Life in Rural Areas
Impact of Settlement on the Environment (positive and negative)
3. The Modern World
Themes: Justice/Peace, Race, Gender, Land
Colonialism and its effects
Causes and consequences of Conflict
Ireland's role in International Affairs
Assessment is by way of
(i) Examination paper (60%)
(ii) Historical investigation (20%)
(iii) Geographical fieldwork assignment (20%)
There are two examination papers, one for Higher level and one for Ordinary level.
The Junior Certificate Environmental and Social Studies syllabus was introduced in 1990 and first examined in 1992. As part of the review of junior cycle, it is one of a number of syllabuses currently undergoing a rebalancing process, in a move towards presenting all junior cycle syllabuses in similar formats.
Junior Certificate Environmental and Social Studies Syllabus (Ordinary level and Higher level)
State Examinations Commission
Department of Education and Science