Transition Year is an optional one-year school programme that can be taken in the year after the Junior Certificate in Ireland and is intended to make the senior cycle a three-year programme encompassing both Transition Year and Leaving Certificate. Transition Year was created as a result of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress which called for a six-year cycle of post-primary education. The mission statement of the Transition Year is:
To promote the personal, social, educational and vocational development of pupils and to prepare them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society.
Transition Year was introduced as a pilot project in September 1974, however it was not until September 1994 that the programme was introduced mainstream. Transition Year is not examined, but rather is assessed, and is intended to be a broad educational experience which assists in the transition from the school environment by encouraging creativity and responsibility for oneself. Approximately 75% of second-level schools offer the programme and it consists of both education and work experience. Schools generally set admissions criteria and design the programme based on local needs in accordance with departmental guidelines.
The year focuses on many non-academic subjects, such as life skills including: First Aid, cooking, self-defense, driving and typing. A lot of sport goes on, with many different types including: rock-climbing, hill-walking, horse-riding, sailing, kayaking and orienteering. Voluntary Work is a requirement in many schools, with students helping out in local communities and charities. It is not possible to fail Transition Year overall: all students continue to their next year of education no matter what their results. However, if a student does not do the set work or is absent for a large amount of time, there is a chance that the school will request that they leave.
Many consider it to be a break from the pressure of examinations. However most teachers would agree that Transition Year gives students a valuable opportunity to engage in a wide variety of interesting, diverse, and challenging areas of their subjects which do not normally make the curriculum.
Transition Year is offered in 75% of the second level schools in Ireland. In some schools, Transition year is compulsory.
Click on the link below to view the Transition Year Programmes Guidelines