Life can present our students with a maze of challenges and opportunities that can at times seem overwhelming. As a department we strive to assist all students navigate that maze. Learning for life and work creates a specific space to focus on thinking through major decisions and their implications. Learning for Life & Work is linked with all experiences in each students’ education. As a specific subject area, it equips student’s with practical tools to think independently, make informed choices and act responsibly in today’s world.


  • Mrs M Curran (Head of Department)
  • Mrs H McGee
  • Mrs J Martin
  • Miss E J Kelly
  • Mrs J Chapman
  • Mrs K Kealey
  • Mr S McBride
  • Miss Jamison
  • Mrs N Watson
  • Mrs S O Connor
  • Miss D McElholme
  • Miss Orr
  • Mrs T McVey
  • Mrs C Doherty
  • Mrs C Alexander


Learning for Life & Work is a key learning area in Key Stage 3 Northern Ireland Curriculum. At St Mary’s College every Year 8, 9 and 10 student has two lessons per week. During this time they will actively learn the three key strands of Personal Development, Employability and Citizenship.


At GCSE level all students will continue to study the Learning for Life & Work programme. Each student will have the opportunity to complete one of three qualifications, either GCSE Learning for Life and Work or Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) or Level 2 Preparation for Adult Life. GCSE Learning for Life and Work – Modular Students will complete 4 units of work during Year 11 & 12. They will complete three modular exams and one controlled assessments. The breakdown is as follows:
  • Unit 1 Controlled Assessment Report 40%
  • Unit 2 Local and Global Citizenship Written Exam 13.3%
  • Unit 3 Personal Development Written Exam 13.3%
  • Unit 4 Employability Written Exam 13.3%
The three areas of learning are: Local and Global Citizenship
  • Diversity and inclusion in Northern Ireland and the wider world
  • Rights and social responsibilities, in relation to local, national and global issues
  • The role of society and government in safeguarding rights
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Key democratic institutions and their role in promoting inclusion, justice and democracy
  • Understanding how to participate in a range of democratic processes
Personal Development
  • Understanding how to maximise and sustain health and well-being
  • Concept of self, managing emotions and reactions
  • Recognising, assessing and managing risk
  • Understanding relationships and sexuality, and the responsibilities of healthy relationships
  • Understanding the roles and responsibilities of parenting
  • Developing further competence as discerning consumers in preparation for independent living
  • The impact of globalisation on employment
  • Recruitment and selection procedures, taking into account the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers
  • Self-employment and relevant sources of support
  • Maintaining an effective working environment
  • Investigating the increasing social responsibility of business in the community.

Examination Performance

Students continue to excel in the area of GCSE Learning for Life & Work. 2019 98% A* to C

Extra Curricular

The Learning for Life and Work department offer various support classes, in particular to assist with revision and past paper questions leading to exam times. We also provide support for students completing controlled assessments tasks. We invite  many guest speakers and organisations to visit the school and talk with the students.