Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE)

Civic, Social and Political Education is a Junior Certificate course in active citizenship. In conjunction with the school mission statement, the CSPE Department aims to inspire and develop students according to their capabilities in order that they reach their full potential.

One of the principal aims of CSPE in Clongowes is that students not only become active in their roles as citizens, but also well informed and responsible citizens. Civic, Social and Political Education seeks to be affective and to equip pupils with the skills and understanding of processes which enable them to see, decide, judge and act.  Its employment of active and co-operatively structured learning methodologies enables and empowers the pupil to become an active and participative young person. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child are two key documents, which underpin this course.

CSPE is a short course of just 70 hours spread over three years, averaging one class per week. Through active exploration and study of citizenship at all levels (personal, local, national, global) in the context of contemporary social and political issues, this course aims to:

  • help students to become actively involved in their community, country and the wider world
  • encourage and develop the practical skills, which will enable students to engage in active participatory social interaction and to adopt responsible roles within a democratic society
  • enable students to develop their critical thinking skills in agreement with a system of values based in human rights and responsibilities.

Through the units of study the students should come to understand how the seven concepts in CSPE serve to inform and clarify the concept of active participatory citizenship. These are:

  1. Rights and Responsibilities
  2. Human Dignity
  3. Democracy
  4. Stewardship
  5. Law
  6. Development
  7. Interdependence

Student performance in CSPE is assessed and certified as part of the Junior Certificate programme. It is a common level course with assessment carried out in two modes. The first is a submission of either a report on an Action Project or a Course-Work assessment book, which constitutes 60% of the overall result. The second – an examination paper at the end of the third year of the course – constitutes the remaining 40% of the overall result.