Transition Year


Transition Year (TY) is a one-year programme between Junior Cycle 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

All second-level schools have the option of offering the Transition Year programme to their students and most of them do offer it. The Transition Year programme follows the Junior Cycle and is generally seen as the first year of a three-year Senior Cycle programme. However, Transition Year is not in fact the first year of the Leaving Certificate programme, which is a two-year cycle.

Aims of the Transition Year programme

The Transition Year offers students an opportunity to:

  • Engage in independent, self-directed learning,
  • Develop general, technical and academic skills
  • Mature and develop without the pressure of an examination.

The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) has a section on their website dedicated to providing detailed information on the Transition Year.

Areas of study in Transition Year

Each school designs its own TY prgramme, to suit the needs and interests of its students. Schools must design the TY programme within set guidelines for schools (pdf).

Areas of study may include:

  • Environmental studies
  • Chinese culture and language studies
  • Global development issues
  • Debating development
  • Tourism studies
  • Student safety in the workplace
  • Soap operas and popular culture
  • Food matters
  • Legal studies
  • Sports coaching
  • Introduction to genetics and biotechnology
  • Media and communications
  • Japanese studies

Students get the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas and can make more informed choices about the kind of Leaving Certificate programme they want to follow after the Transition Year. Work experience is a core aspect of the Transition Year programme. It aims to bring new kinds of learning opportunities to students by experiencing adult and working life.

You can find more information about the TY curriculum on the websites of the PDST, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Department of Education and Skills.

Transition Year is optional and admission criteria vary from school to school.

Parental involvement in the Transition Year

When drawing up the Transition Year programme, schools are encouraged to involve parents in the decision-making process and in the planning. To assist in this process, most schools arrange sessions for parents of third-year students to discuss the Transition Year programme. A specifically designed 'Student Introduction to Transition Year' seminar can be run for the Junior Cycle students themselves. Some parents make their expertise available to the school during the Transition Year as visiting speakers. Others may assist in the Work Experience Programme. All parents are invited to contribute to the evaluation of the programme. You can find further information in this list of frequently asked questions on the Transition Year Programme.

Assessment and certification

There is no end-of-year state examination in the Transition Year - a decision made by the Department of Education to ensure that the focus of the year was learning-led rather than exam-driven.

The activity-based learning ethos of the year requires each school to engage in school-based assessment, which helps students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as develop the skills of self-assessment and reflection.

Assessment is ongoing, with portfolio assessment, project work, and exhibitions of students' work. Oral aural, practical and written activities all form part of this assessment process.

Students who have successfully completed the Transition Year Progamme are usually awarded a certificate of participation by their school.

Where to apply

Page edited: 25 September 2019