Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Transition Year?
- What’s the purpose of the Transition Year Programme?
- Who decides on the programme?
- What subjects are studied?
- Even if all these programmes are different, surely there are some features common to the programme in a lot of schools?
- What about exams?
- Can the Transition Year be part of a three-year Leaving Certificate programme?
- Is Transition Year available to all students?
- Is Transition Year suited to all students?
- How are parents involved?
- In a school where TY is optional might the student miss his/her friends who continue through to fifth year?
A one year programme taken after the Junior Certificate and before the Leaving Certificate Programme.
To promote maturity:
- Maturity in studies by making students more self-directed learners through the development of general, technical and academic skills
- Maturity in relation to work and careers by developing work-related skills
- Personal maturity by providing opportunities to develop communication skills, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility
- Social maturity by developing greater ‘people’ skills and more awareness of the world outside school
- Maturity that will help the student make a more informed choice of subject for their Leaving Certificate studeis
Each school devises its own TY programme. The teaching staff draws up a programme in the light of the Transition Year Guidelines and the Resource Material published by the Department of Education and Science. They also consider students’ needs, parents’ views, employers and the wider interests of the local community. Each year the programme should be evaluated, with inputs from all these parties, and revised by the teaching staff.
This varies from school to school but in every school students follow a timetable as they do in other years. Most programmes work towards getting a balance between some continuation of essential core subjects, a tasting and sampling of other subjects, a variety of distinctive courses designed to broaden students’ horizons and some modules and activities specifically aimed at promoting the maturity that is central to the whole Transition Year ideal.
Even if all these programmes are different, surely there are some features common to the programme in a lot of schools?
Many schools offer modules, short courses on particular topics. Most schools offer a work experience programme. Mini-company, where students set up and operate a real business, is a popular way of learning. The use of visiting speakers as well as trips beyond the classroom are features of many programmes. Project work, where students undertake independent research, usually more extensive than traditional ‘homework’, is also commoon to many programmes.
Assessment is a key part of any worthwhile learning programme. Transition Year is an opportunity to move beyond the narrow focus of end-of-year, written exams. The emphasis is on varied and on-going assessment with students themselves becoming involved in diagnosing their own learning strengths and weaknesses. Project work, portfolio work and exhibitions of students’ work are also encouraged. Each individual school makes its won arrangements for reporting to parents and for the certifications of students who complete a TY programme.
The Transition Year programme is a school-designed, distinctive programme and should not constitute year one of a three-year Leaving Certificate. TY is part of the Senior Cycle experience and lays a solid foundation for Leaving Certificate studies. TY programmes should challenge students intellectually, give them an orientation to the world of work and cater for the development of their personal and social awareness. Research has shown that students who take TY achieve, on average, higher points in the Leaving Certificate exam; this is perhaps due to the development of their general study skills as well as the skills required for each individual subject.
Currently over 30,000 young people are following a Transition Year programme in approx. 560 schools. Some schools offer TYP to all students who have finished the Junior Certificate. In other schools TYP is optional.
With its emphasis on development and maturity, all young people can benefit from the programme. Transition Year, in particular, can allow for the development of an individual’s multiple intelligences-linguistic, logico-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist. The Transition Year programme can also develop key skills for the 21st century such as the three Ts: thinking, teamwork and technology.
Parents’ understanding of and support for student learning in TY is a key factor in a successful Transition Year experience. Most schools arrange sessions for parents of 3rd year students to discuss the Transition Year programme. Parents should attend and contribute. Some parents make their particular expertise available to the school during the TYP. Parents should be involved also in the school’s evaluation of its programme. Parents should encourage their sons and daughters to avail of the numerous opportunities offered by this unique programme.
In a school where TY is optional might the student miss his/her friends who continue through to Leaving Certificate Year One?
It is true that if no other friends opt for TY, the student will be separated from them. However unless his/her friends opt for the same Leaving Certificate programme and/or the same subject groupings for Leaving Certificate they will become separated anyway. It is dangerous to make important decisions about you education based on what your friends want to do!
Most schools have a policy of integrating the TY students early in the academic year. Typically this is done through an induction programme for TY students and/or Team -building activities e.g. An Outdoor Pursuits programme in an Adventure Centre.
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