The Transition Year Programme
Transition Year is a one-year, school-based programme between Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle. It is designed to act as a bridge between the two by facilitating the smooth transition from the more dependent
learning of the Junior Cycle to the more independent
self-directed learning required for the Senior Cycle
All second-level schools have the option of offering the Transition Year programme to their students and currently around 530 schools are doing so - this represents approximately 75 % of all Irish schools. The Transition Year programme follows the Junior Certificate and is generally seen as the first year of a three-year Senior Cycle programme. However Transition Year is not the first year of the Leaving Certificate programme which is a two-year cycle.
Aims of the Transition Year Programme
The Transition Year offers students an opportunity:
· To engage in independent, self-directed learning,
· To develop general, technical and academic skills
· To mature and develop without the pressure of an examination.
Areas of Study in Transition Year
Areas of study include:
· Guidance and counselling
· Physical education
· Personal and social development
· Aesthetic and cultural studies
· Philosophical and religious education
· Science and technologies
· Civic, political and social education
· Business studies and enterprise education
· Environmental education
Teachers have the chance to design programmes and courses tailored to the needs and interests of students. Parents, the community and local enterprise can bring new kinds of learning opportunities to the students.
Students get the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas and can make more informed choices about the kind of Leaving Certificate programme they want to follow after the Transition Year. Transition Year is optional and admission criteria vary from school to school.
Parental involvement in the Transition Year
When drawing up the Transition Year programme, schools are encouraged to involve parents in the decision-making process and in the planning. To assist in the decision-making process, most schools arrange sessions for parents of third-year students to discuss the Transition Year programme, while a specifically designed "Student Introduction to Transition Year" seminar can be run for the Junior Certificate students themselves. Some parents make their expertise available to the school during the Transition Year as visiting speakers, others may assist in the Work Experience Programme while all parents are invited to contribute to the evaluation of the programme.
Assessment and Certification
There is no end-of-year state examination in the Transition Year - a decision made by the Department of Education and Science to ensure that the focus of the year was learning led rather than exam driven. The activity-based learning ethos of the year requires each school to engage in school-based assessment, which helps students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as develop the skills of self-assessment and reflection. Assessment is ongoing, with portfolio assessment, project work, and exhibitions of students' work. Oral aural, practical and written activities all form part of this assessment process. Since 2000, the Department of Education and Science has issued an official Transition Year Certificate to participants in addition to schools providing their own school-based certification.