What is CSPE?

Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) is a course in citizenship designed to show you how you can make this difference in Ireland and around the world. . You will learn about your human rights, but also about your social responsibilities, as well as how the political system works.


Through the CSPE course you will find out how to:

  • Act responsibly
  • Recognise your rights
  • Find out information
  • Get involved in issues and make a change
  • Work in teams with others
  • Examine issues from several points of view

CSPE looks at things from FOUR different angles

  1. You as an individual citizen – what can YOU do?
  2. Your community – what can our school/Ballyfermot do?
  3. Your country – what can Ireland do?
  4. Europe and the wider world – what can the world do?

Seven Key Concepts

There are seven units in the CSPE course, based around seven key concepts. These are

1. Rights and Responsibilities

Everyone is entitled to certain basic human rights (such as the right to life, the right to an education, the right to marry, the right to a fair trial). But we also have responsibilities towards other people that we must fulfil to maintain our rights.


2. Human Dignity

Every individual should be treated with dignity and respect. Basic needs such as food, health, security, education and shelter are vital to human dignity. And respecting human dignity involves treating all people equally, without prejudice or discrimination, no matter how different people are to us.


3. Stewardship

Stewardship is the responsibility to look after something in your care. We are all responsible for our stewardship of the planet Earth. It is important that vital natural resources are safeguarded for future generations, and that we avoid irresponsible actions that damage the planet.


4. Democracy

Democracy means that we the people have the supreme power, and that citizens get to elect people to represent them. In this subject you will learn how the political system and governments operate and how you can get involved in the government of your area, Ireland or the European Union.


5. Law   

Rules and laws protect citizens’ rights and allow a country to operate. In this section we will explore why we have laws, how laws are made, how laws are upheld and what happens if an individual “breaks” a law. We will learn about Irish Law, European Law and laws in other countries.


6. Development

Local, national and international communities are in a constant state of change. Development can be described as a process of improvement (social, cultural, political or economic) to meet citizens’ needs. However, the process of development is not always as easy as you might think.


7. Interdependence

It is important to remember that we are all linked to each other in some way – at individual, local, national and global levels – right down to the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the things we purchase. “Interdependence” is the word used to describe these linkages – the actions we make in our own country will affect others around the world.


How is CSPE assessed?

You will study CSPE for one period a week for the next three years, after the end of which you will take it as a subject in your Junior Cert.

The subject will be assessed in two ways:

Action Project                          60%

Written Exam                           40%


What’s an Action Project?

During the course, we will undertake at least one (maybe two) activity that will cover one of the key concepts listed above. It usually takes about a term to plan and do a proper Action Project and it could involve:

  • A guest speaker
  • A publicity campaign
  • A visit to, for example, the Dail
  • A mock election
  • A fundraising event
  • Publishing a booklet

After the project itself has been done comes the hard work of writing a report on it. It’s this report that is assessed for your Junior Cert, so we’ll write and rewrite it several times till you get it right, but the handy thing is that if you CAN get it right you’ll have 60% of the whole 3-year assessment already completed.

Useful Links:






www.trocaire.ie w



2 Oisín Action Project

2 Oisin as part of the CSPE Action project invited Dale Treadwell (from Irish Tree Charity CRANN, Naturally Wild and RTE Kazoo’s Environmental reporter) to come speak to the class all about the importance of trees. He spoke to the girls all about biodiversity, the uses of trees, the production of honey and he also introduced the girls to his hedgehog – Scabbers. Check out more about Dale here: http://www.naturallywild.ie/