There are six Priority Learning Units (PLUs) at the heart of every L1LP. These PLUs explicitly identify and develop the key areas of learning needed to prepare the students for their future lives. Though presented as self-contained units when used as part of a learning programme these PLUs interconnect and overlap. The order in which the PLUs are presented is to assist teachers who are planning for L1LP and L2LP students. Communication, language and literacy Numeracy Personal care and wellbeing Being part of a community The arts Physical education Each PLU is described in general terms, followed by a summary list of the main elements of each PLU set out in a table. Each PLU is divided into elements and these elements have a number of associated learning outcomes which specify the knowledge, skills and attitudes students can demonstrate they have learned (see p. 23 for learning outcomes related to a PLU). The learning outcomes are presented in a sequence, reflecting cognitive demand, though not all students will progress in a linear fashion. The learning outcomes developed for L1LPs are broadly aligned with the indicators at Level 1 of the National Framework of Qualifications (see Appendix C). The unconstrained nature of the learning outcomes facilitate differentiation upwards or downwards as required. Although teachers have the highest possible expectations for the students they teach, not all students have to achieve every PLU or indeed every learning outcome. The learning outcomes chosen for a student to work on are ones that the teacher identifies as being achievable and realistic, given the individual student’s abilities and gaps in learning. They may also take considerable time to make progress on a learning outcome. Though some learning outcomes indicate that a student may need adult support to achieve the outcome, the aim is always to support the student towards as much independence as possible. As each student is on an individual learning journey, a progression continuum has been developed with seven pathways of progression and descriptive indicators accompanying them (see p. 20). The continuum assists teachers, parents/guardians and students in keeping track of and understanding the journey the student is making and where they are on that journey. The continuum is set out in seven pathways—experiencing, attending, responding, initiating, acquiring, becoming fluent, and generalising—and for each of these there is a descriptor outlining what is involved at that pathway. Along with the student’s IEP, the progression continuum supports the teacher in planning for next steps in teaching, learning and assessment. The support material planned for the L1LP Toolkit will further assist planning, offering examples of how other teachers have developed L1LPs for their students. Learning in L1LPs will largely comprise of learning outcomes from PLUs. Apart from the PLUs, a second curricular component—which L1LPs have in common with all junior cycle programmes—is the short course. Short courses relate to and can support the learning outcomes of the PLUs. They are curricular units developed to focus on a particular area of interest to students of junior cycle age. Level 1 short courses will also share these features and will provide students with access to as broad a range of curriculum areas as possible. Initially, the NCCA will develop a small number of short courses for use by schools. However, schools will also be free to develop their own following a template and guidelines developed by NCCA. Short courses may, in time, be developed by other organisations. Schools can decide on the short courses most suitable for their students – they may be subject-based or they may be thematic and cross-curricular in nature. They should always focus on topics that are age-appropriate for junior cycle students and on areas of interest to the students involved. Students should be facilitated in applying their learning from one situation to another at every opportunity. This ensures that they consolidate their skills. Although repetition is essential to these students, learning should take place in varied learning environments in order to maintain student motivation and to judge whether a student is able to generalise his/her learning. In planning for teaching, learning and assessment for a student undertaking a L1LP, a process similar to that for planning L2LPs is recommended. The following are the main features of that planning process: The student’s needs at the centre as informed by her/his areas of interests and the student’s IEP as well as reports from parents/guardians and other professionals who work with the student. The application of the L1LP guidelines to the student’s needs. The use of PLUs and their relevant learning outcomes for that student. The use of short courses and other curricular material to facilitate learning and provide a broad curriculum. The identification of teaching approaches to areas such as communication, language and literacy development for these students. The plan for gathering of evidence of work undertaken and learning achieved by the student. See Figure 1 below for a visual representation of this process.