In 2014, the Irish Second Level Students Union released a report on Transition Year – Exploiting the Student Experience which look at how students experience Transition Year and what recommendations they had to improve it for the future.
In it’s report it outlines what transition year is as follows:
- an independent year sitting between Junior and Leaving Certificate in Secondary Schools in Ireland
- which consists of an open curriculum designed by schools themselves for exclusive modelling to students needs, backgrounds and locations
It has four set layers:
- Core Subject Layer
- Subject Sampling Layer
- TY Specific Layer
- Calender Layer
The Core Subject Layer:
- Maths, Irish English etc.
- follow the traditional Leaving Cert Syllabus to give an indicator of what’s to come in 5th year or the teacher can create their own syllabus
The Subject Sampling Layer:
- “subject tasters”
- designed to allow students to explore the content & try out different Leaving Cert subjects
- it allows students to pick up new subjects for the Leaving Cert and to make more informed choices for the Leaving Cert
TY Specific Layer:
- Specifically designed by teachers to fit students needs and experiences
- TY Mini-Company
- Film Production
- subjects/modules that occur at certain times of the year
- Work Experience
- specific activities
- guest speakers
- European School Tour
- college open days etc.
It is not compulsory year; it’s at the discretion of the school
In the schools surveyed, 99% offered TY; it was optional in 82% of the schools and 89% of the students surveyed chose to do it even though it was optional.
The students who went straight into 5th year gave the following reasons for not completing TY:
- wouldn’t benefit them
- felt like it was a year of doing nothing
- it was a waste of a year
- wanted to get out of school as soon as possible
- friends moved on to 5th year
- it costs too much money
Students surveyed believed that communication with past transition year students and students who went straight into 5th year would have helped to make them a more informed decision about whether or not TY was for them.
The students surveyed were assessed in TY using the following methods:
- reflective journal
- credits for class attendance