Transition Year

Transition year

Transition year – Mission Statement

The Department of Education guidelines on the Transition Year Programme states as its mission: ‘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.’ In keeping with the mission statement of the school, Transition Year is committed to developing the potential of the students: their moral, academic, social, aesthetic, physical and spiritual education. It is also committed to developing supportive partnerships between school, parents and local community.

Department of Education & Skills – Aims of Transition Year

The Department of Education and Science recommends that the following aims should be strongly reflected in every Transition Year Programme:

  • Education for maturity with the emphasis on personal development including social awareness and increased social competence.
  • The promotion of general, technical and academic skills with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and self-directed learning.
  • Education through experience of adult and working life as a basis for personal development and maturity.

School Mission Statement:

“St. Joseph’s Community College seeks to create an inclusive school community where values, attitudes and behaviours consistent with its Christian ethos are fostered. In partnership with parents and the wider community, it respects individual self-worth and aims to provide a safe environment in which each student may achieve his/her full potential inclusive of spiritual and academic.”



In keeping with the school’s mission statement, TY in SJCC is committed to developing excellence in learning. It also endeavours to help students reach their full potential, through equality for all in an atmosphere of mutual respect. It is also committed to developing supportive partnerships between school, parents, management and the local community.


  • To provide a learning structure which promotes maturity.
  • To be learning led rather than exam led.
  • To provide breadth and balance in the curriculum.
  • To develop lifeskills.
  • To provide experiential learning.
  • To encourage a more professional use of assessment.
  • To facilitate interdisciplinary skills.



  • TY offers pupils a broad educational experience, with a view to increased maturity before proceeding to future studies.
  • TY aims to help students develop a different approach to learning and to accept responsibility for their own learning.
  • TY aims to encourage students to become aware of their skills, talents and abilities and to use these to benefit all.
  • TY aims to encourage students to take responsibility for developing life skills.
  • TY encourages students to foster a caring and positive working atmosphere in the school and local community.
  • TY encourages students to utilise and value all educational opportunities available in the school and local community.

Transition Year in St Joseph’s Community College

The TY programme in SJCC continually attempts to build on the success of the programme in previous years. In this sense TY in SJCC is an ever-evolving programme. This plan therefore draws on the lessons from:

  • The formal evaluations we have carried out with TY and other students, teachers, parents.
  • The informal feedback we have received from students, teachers, parents and local organisations and businesses.
  • Discussions we have had with the TY teachers.
  • Discussions and meetings we have had with the Principal and Deputy Principal.
  • Observations from the direct and intense involvement as programme coordinator.
  • Best practice as documented in DES Guidelines for TY and Inspection Reports.

Transition Year in has been offered in SJCC since 1993. Transition Year is a one year school based programme between Junior 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.

It is an optional programme. Notwithstanding the optional nature of the programme take up has been very high with the vast majority of students opting to do it. This high level of take up is testimony to the fact that, in general, the students who do TY really enjoy the year and consider it a very stimulating, valuable and special experience.

Evidence pointing to the general success of the programme can be found in the sustained high take-up numbers, in the formal written evaluations of the students and teachers and in the anecdotal evidence garnered from discussions with students during and in the years after completing the programme.

All three of these sources concur that the programme has contributed very positively to students personal, social and educational development. The message that comes through again and again is that:

  • The year was a great help to them in maturing socially, that they were much more confident about mixing, making friends, communicating with people.
  • It really helped them make choices regarding their short and long term future, including subject choices for Leaving Certificate and general career path.
  • Their attitude to school and teachers matured as a result of TY. They liked the experiential nature of the year, were given more responsibility and learned to take more responsibility for themselves in general and for their own learning through task focussed projects; through the initiatives they took that were supported by teachers and through the way they related to teachers on a more mature or equal footing during TY.

Our Transition Year programme provides our students with the opportunity to get a broad educational experience, away from the pressure of formal exams with a view to increasing maturity before proceeding to Senior Cycle. It is hoped that students will, during this year, take greater responsibility for their own learning and decision making and develop a wide range of skills. The programme is devised to improve student’s confidence and also to provide a wide range of educational subject areas, the school is very committed to affording each student the opportunity to prepare for further education and the world of work. TY students are encouraged to participate in all activities and workshops and try to extend outside their comfort zone and push themselves to try to gain the best experiences possible throughout the programme. Strong links have been developed with members of the local and wider community, voluntary groups and sporting organisations. The programme is constantly evolving and we are constantly trying to improve and give students the best experiences possible. Students are monitored and fully supported throughout the year.

Enrolment Policy – Entry into Transition Year

  • Transition year is an optional year, situated between junior cycle and senior cycle.
  • The number of Transition year classes in SJCC may vary from year to year, depending on the number of students wishing to participate and the staff resources available in the school.
  • Entry to Transition Year should not be considered an automatic right. The flexible nature of the Transition Year programme requires students to exercise a greater degree of autonomy and responsibility during the year.
  • Students who embark on Transition Year must have shown themselves capable, during the junior cycle, of adhering to the school’s Code of Behaviour.
  • Each student’s application will be given serious consideration.
  • Students who are not considered suitable for Transition Year will be advised accordingly and encouraged to proceed to Fifth Year.
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that students wishing to participate in Transition Year will be accommodated, subject to the above conditions.

Transition Year Work Experience:

Work experience is a key part of the TY year.  Students will source their own work, and develop many skills throughout the week and learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

Guidelines for placements

  • If you want a good placement, be organised, sort this as early as possible.
  • Decide where you would like to be employed -place. Is there a family relation, friend or contact person who might be able to help you find a satisfactory placement? Is there a local institution or agency which would be appropriate?
  • Write or type a letter, email (telephone), asking politely for a placement. A sample of a letter is given in class: Layout is important.
  • Be patient. You may have to apply to a few places before you are successful. If you do not receive a reply within a reasonable time, you may need to follow up your letter with a phone call or by a call to the premises.
  • Try to ensure that the work, which you will be, expected to do will be worthwhile and not just menial.
  • When you have secured a placement, it is your responsibility to let the coordinator know the details of the placement.
  • In all your dealings with potential employers, be polite, respectful and grateful. Remember that it is they who are doing you a favour – not the other way around.
  • Your employer will be evaluating your performance at the end of the week.
  • Also, staff members will be either making a phone call to the organisation or calling to the organisation, where possible, in order to evaluate your placement. This information is given to the Programme coordinator. Students will also be asked to reflect on their experience, on return to school, which can be completed, informally or more formally, if the need arises, during class time.

This ensures that each student will learn and grow through their experiences.

  • Students will keep a record of their experience throughout the week and document this in their reflective journal.
  • Teachers will be assigned as TY mentors for 1/2 students. It is the responsibility of the teacher in question to discuss work experience details with this teacher and any other issues that may arise throughout the course of the year. This will make up for the contact time teacher miss with students during work experience.

Student reflection of work experience:

  • Worthwhile as developed many skills.
  • Developed practical skills.
  • Good experience – valuable – prepare for the real world.
  • Access to a variety of career paths.
  • Found out about that career.
  • Completely different to school – More responsibility.
  • Developed people skills – hands on approach.
  • Very busy – developed communication skills.
  • Real world benefits.
  • Rewarding & enjoyable.
  • Found out that it wasn’t career route you wanted to go down – eye-opener.
  • Majority of students found it worthwhile, some students are now more aware of what real life jobs/working world involves and the responsibilities associated with it.

Community work, if possible, will also form part of the TY programme.


Regular emails/updates are sent to parents to inform them of the events taking place in TY, each Friday, over the course of the year.A progress report will be issued three times per year in the form of student reports.

TY Graduation:

In May each year our Transition Year evening showcases each student’s work and school and Department of Education certificates are awarded to all students who complete the programme.