Transition Year in Banagher College Coláiste na Sionna
Transition year is a one year programme taken after the Junior Certificate and before the Leaving Certificate Programme. The folowing are the answers to some frequently asked questions about TRANSITION YEAR.
What’s the purpose of the Transition Year 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 studies.
Who decides on the Transition Year Programme?
Banagher College, Coláiste na Sionna has devised its own TY programme. The teaching staff drew up a programme in the light of the Transition Year Guidelines and the Resource Material published by the Department of Education and Science. We took into consideration students’ needs, parents’ views, employers and the wider interests of the local community. Each year the programme is evaluated, with inputs from all these parties, and revised by the teaching staff.
Cost of the Transition Year Programme in BCCNS?
The cost of TY in BCCNS is approximately €500. This includes the cost of the Microsoft Office Specialist Computer Course.
There is an optional foreign tour at a cost of circa €530. This is normally in April and for the last number of years the TY class have gone on a trip to Northern Italy.
What subjects are studied?
Our programme works 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.
We offer the following:
- Road safety,
- Enterprise competitions,
- Drama (panto for 2011 will be Cinderella),
- Team building days,
- Induction days,
- School tours,
- Disability awareness programme,
- Gaisce Awards,
- Work experience etc.
Our school offers a work experience programme and we are involved in a number of enterprise competitions, where students set up and operate a real business. It is a popular way of learning. The use of visiting speakers as well as trips beyond the classroom are features of our programme. Project work, where students undertake independent research, usually more extensive than traditional ‘homework’, is also common to our programme.
What about exams?
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. Formal assessments are carried out 3 times a year at the end of each 10 week module, and reports are sent home. Students are keeping a portfolio of completed work and these are used as a form of assessment also.
Benefits of Transition Year in BCCNS?
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.
Is Transition Year available to all students?
There are 58 students presently taking the TY programme in BCCNS. It is an optional programme in our school. Currently over 30,000 young people in Ireland are following a Transition Year programme in approx. 560 schools. Some schools offer TYP to all students who have finished the Junior Certificate.
Is Transition Year suited to all students?
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 thethree Ts: thinking, teamwork and technology.
How are parents involved?
Parents’ understanding of and support for student learning in TY is a key factor in a successful Transition Year experience. BCCNS arranges a subject options night for parents of 3rd year students to discuss the Transition Year programme in April of every year. An awards night is held in May of transition Year where students work is put on display. 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.