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Department members 

Stephen Smith, David Mc Connon, Jonathan Irwin  

Provision of the subject in the school 

Graphics is taught as an optional subject to all students up to Junior Cycle Level. 

Design and Communication Graphics (DCG) is the follow-on subject for students who wish to sit this subject at Leaving Certificate level. Students follow the course set out and by the DES syllabus and can achieve Ordinary and Higher Level in leaving certificate examinations. 

Time table 


Graphics (Junior Cycle) 

The study of Graphics at junior cycle aims to:  

  • Develop the student’s creative imagination through developing their visual spatial abilities  
  • Encourage the development of the cognitive and practical dexterity skills associated with graphical communication  
  • Instill an appreciation of the role of graphics in the world around them  
  • Equip all students to make judgements on the best mode through which to represent their ideas and solutions   
  • Encourage the production of drawings that represent the student’s best work. Using different forms of media including CAD and traditional board drawings. 

Assessment for the JCPA  

The assessment of Graphics for the purposes of the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) will comprise:  

  • two Classroom-based Assessments: Communicating through sketching and Presentation of research  
  • A project (using CAD and sketching techniques) 
  • A written examination.  

TY Architects in Schools Programme  

This year O’Carolan College was selected as one of only 30 schools in the country to take part in the IAF initiative. The initiative supports trained architects to link with schools and deliver student workshops over a 12-hour period of class contact time. The initiative is supported by on-line resources and an IAF publication for students, teachers and architects called My Architecture Design Journal. 

Students experience architecture through hands-on design workshops and stimulus activities. The scheme is complementary to many Senior Cycle subjects, including Art, Maths, Sciences, Design and Communication Graphics, Construction Studies, Home Economics, English, History and Geography.  

Design and Communication Graphics (Leaving Certificate)  

The Design and Communication Graphics course makes a unique contribution to the student’s cognitive and skills development. These skills include graphic communication, creative problem solving, spatial ability/visualisation, design capabilities, computer graphics and CAD modeling. The creative and decision-making capabilities of students in the activities associated with design are developed through three principal areas of study: 

Student Assignment: 

The student assignment is 40% of the examination marks of which CAD will form a significant and compulsory part. The purpose of the assignment is to assess those elements of the course that cannot be readily assessed through the terminal examination, in particular elements of design and communication graphics and the utilization of ICT in design. The assignment will relate to a theme identified by the examining authority. A different theme will apply at Higher and Ordinary levels. Students must then proceed to develop a design or project brief in accordance with the given brief. The assignment may take the form of a design investigation and modification or a design investigation and concept design. The assessment criteria will differ at Higher and Ordinary level.  

Higher & Ordinary level
Assignment 40%
Theory (board drawing) 60%


We have a fully equipped graphics room. This year saw the addition of 5 brand new state of the art PCs to the DCG/TG room, taking our total to 16 PC’s and 2 laptops for student use. These machines are the most powerful machines in O’Carolan College having SolidWorks (3D Cad) installed on all of them. This is the CAD program our students use to complete their DCG assignment. We have recently installed an A3 scanner A3 colour printer and a visualizer.  

Planning and Preparation 

Department meetings are held at the beginning and end of each term. We also discuss department matters daily as issues arise. Due to the change in recent years, there has been an excellent support network for DCG teachers and ongoing in-service.  


  • Collection of student project work displayed in Graphics room and in frames around the school.  
  • Student PC’s and Laptops  
  • SolidWorks on all machines 
  • A3 scanner 
  • A3 printer  
  • Visualizer