The Transition Year option: a broader education
Our school has run a very successful Transition Year option since 1994. This option may be taken directly after Third Year and is particularly suitable to students who (1) are quite young for Fifth Year (2) show enthusiasm for their studies and are willing to put in a lot of effort in fourth year and (3) would benefit from a year away from the strict regime of the examination system.
Transition Year is a learning-led programme rather than an exam-driven programme. Students wishing to enter Transition Year must apply in advance and final selection is on the basis of an assessment of their career in the school to date and an interview which they must undergo.
The Transition Year programme is taught by a dedicated team of teachers who bring their wide range of skills and knowledge into the classroom. There is more to education than the transmission of knowledge however; there is also a need to share the realities of our lives – as individuals, as members of communities and as citizens of the state. The Transition Year option in Naas C.B.S. seeks to achieve this goal.
Subjects and topics covered in Transition Year are very varied. The curriculum is aimed at the needs of each individual student and new challenges and skills are embraced as an integral part of a wider learning experience. While subjects like political studies, local studies and enterprise studies (including the formation of various mini-companies producing high quality products) are new to the students, the ‘old reliables’ of Maths, English, Irish and other core subjects are not neglected either. In fact, much of the work done in Transition Year leads into the Leaving Certificate courses in such subjects.
The Transition Year calendar in our school is punctuated by many excursions and field trips. These may vary from a trip to the National Concert Hall to a climb of Lugnaquilla. Such events however are not an end in themselves and each one is reinforced by the work done in the classrooms. Hence they become real educational experiences as well as contributing to the students’ enjoyment of the year. The students also have three weeks ‘work experience’ in carefully selected local workplaces during the year, where learning by doing becomes a reality.
The Transition Year option seeks to bring the best out of each individual student and the study skills which they learn are extremely useful when they enter the senior cycle. Pupils who have done Transition Year know where to find information, how to analyse it, what to do with it and how to present it. These skills are vital in today’s information age and are often reflected in the leaving certificate results achieved by ex-transition year students. Even more importantly perhaps, Transition Year may ignite a spark within the students, giving them a lifelong interest in one or more topics, which will remain with them long after their leaving certificate results have passed into history.
- Aims of Transition Year
- Work experience
Aims of Transition Year
The overall aim of our Transition Year option is to enable our students to grow towards maturity, to develop their social and personal skills resulting in responsible and well balanced individuals
Overall aims of Transition Year
- To foster the student’s personal growth, development and confidence
- To develop the social skills of the student
- To engage in preparation for a healthy, active life
- To foster an appreciation of culture, aesthetics and the arts
- To celebrate the religious and spiritual side of each individual
Specific objectives of the course
- To encourage the student to become an active and responsible citizen and member of his local community
- To enable the student to better appreciate and cope with the academic demands of the senior cycle
- To prepare the student for the world of work
- To provide opportunities for enterprise and decision making
- To encourage each student to become more responsible for his own learning
- To promote positive relations among everyone involved in Transition Year
- Political Studies
- Legal Studies
- Road Safety
- European Languages
- Health & Wellbeing
- Heritage Studies
- Physical Education
- Design & Communication Graphics
- Computer Science
- Local Studies
- Enterprise Studies
- World Development
TY work experience
What exactly is work experience?
This is an opportunity to provide students with ‘hands on’ experience of real working conditions in a local place of work. Employers take our students into their workplace to enable each to work, usually unpaid, in a busy environment with others. Each student gets practical experience of a variety of jobs and situations.
Overall aim of the Work Experience Programme
- To gain real experience of the world of work
Objectives of the Work Experience Programme
- To learn new skills and to recognise the qualities valued by employers
- To develop social skills, such as taking responsibility, punctuality and teamwork
- To provide an insight into career prospects
- To conform to the day-to-day pressures of work
- To appreciate employers’ needs and expectations
- To give greater clarity and meaning to school and classwork
Where does the work take place?
- Students are obliged to find their own work experience placement in their local area for a fortnight inNovember.
- Jobs must be of a safe and satisfactory nature, during day hours and be a genuinely new experience.
- A second, distinctly different job must be found for the second period of work experience inMarch.
- An interdisciplinary approach
Subjects that will help in preparing the student for his work experience include Career Guidance, Enterprise , English and SPHE
The efficacy of the work experience programme will be evaluated with surveys from the employers, students and teachers. Each student will keep a diary to record all the aspects of each day’s work.
Portfolios : How it works
- Students choose work for evaluation.
- Students demonstrate what they have learned/done to a committee.
- The committee sees each student individually.
- The committee assesses the student on the basis of the presentation of the work, their understanding of it, and on the teacher’s correction/comments on the work – see assessment page.
- It is not exam centred
- It assesses a variety of skills
- It values the individual
- It encourages the student to be purposeful and systematic in their work.
- It ensures that work is ready for the end of year exhibition
- It provides an opportunity for the boys to experience an interview
- It assesses work early and late in the year
- There will be two assessments of portfolios during the year, in December and May.
For each assessment:
- Teachers are asked to help the students to choose their most suitable pieces of work. This work should be corrected and have the subject teacher’s comments on it. Assessment of the piece of work is the job of the subject teacher. Assessment of the portfolio is the job of the committee.
- TheDecember assessment will be based on four pieces of work in total.
- TheMay assessment will be based on 10 pieces of work to be presented at interview. Students may present a TY diary in place of two pieces of work This diary will be a personal record of each individual’s year. It should include written descriptions of events, photographs, brochures and other mementoes of TY.
The evaluation of each individual programme will be carried out by the subject departments or by the relevant teacher teams at the end of Term one and at the end of the school year.
Evaluation of Work Experience
Questionnaires will be completed by students, parents and employers to ascertain the effectiveness of the work experience programme. Teachers involved in preparing students for their experience of the world of work and those involved in the management of the scheme will review its merits and limitations.
Evaluation of the Year
- The Transition Planning Committee will discuss any problems that arise in the course of the year and will try to find solutions for these problems. They will also consider changes that need to be made to the programme for the coming year.
- Each year the Co-ordinator and the Principal will review the Transition Year timetable, selection criteria, subject choice, financing and overall management.
- Regular meetings of TY staff will discuss all issues that arise in relation to the year.
- Agreed changes will be presented to the principal, the whole staff and, where necessary, to the Board of Management.
- Whole school staff meetings will review aspects of the Transition Year option as appropriate
- Evaluation of the Portfolio Assessment
The methodology of the assessment of the student’s overall commitment and application will be reviewed annually by the planning group and, if required, by the TY teachers.