Transition Year was introduced in O’Carolan College in 2004/5 as a compulsory year for all those heading into senior cycle. The following year it became an optional programme and had one class group. Since then TY has grown into the mature programme it is today. In the past number of years, we have had a new style of TY with 3 rotating timetables for all students to experience a huge amount of subject areas and various teaching styles from our new and experienced TY team of teachers. It is the aim of Transition Year to give students the opportunity to experience new subjects, new learning experiences and skills through our variety of trips and workshops and introduce them to the working world. Our students learn in a more active way, with more self-directed learning and responsibility is given to them to work with our younger students and students with SEN. Also the programme helps TY students discover their own strengths and talents, so they can grow in confidence and become more skilled, mature adults.
Planning and preparation for TY takes placec over the summer by the coordinator and throughout the year with the team of tutors and teachers. Teachers were given the opportunity to choose what type of modules they would like to offer on the curriculum which made the curriculum dynamic and meaningful. Meetings are held at the beginning of the year to organise modules and schemes of work, to discuss our rotating timetable, reporting deadlines, finances, syllabi, our musical dance show, trips and activities for the coming year. Students are continually asked to reflect after each term to gauge the success of various activities. At the end of each term student leaders complete class evaluations in order to include their views on what should be part of the Transition Year programme for the subsequent year. Subject teachers are asked to consider various competitions and projects to get involved in e.g. Architecture projects, DKIT/Vex Robotics Competition, charity work and fund-raising, maths Olympiad, Bank of Ireland School Bank, Saffron science competition, Jigsaw Peer Mentoring, mini companies etc. and the coordinator supports them in leading these initiatives.
At the end of Transition Year, certificates are awarded at Distinction, Higher Merit, Merit or Pass level. The T.Y. Coordinator, aided by the Core Team, use the criteria set out to decide on the level of award for each student. This is based on completion of a number of assignments in each subject, teacher reports sent home each term, involvement in extracurricular activities including GAISCE, satisfactory work experience, community involvement, attendance and punctuality.