Transition Year (TY) is a one-year programme in the fourth year of Senior School. It provides students with a mix of learning experiences and serves as a bridge between the structured learning of the Junior Certificate and the more independent, self-directed learning of the Senior Cycle and Leaving Certificate.
At Alexandra College, we ensure that TY is challenging, varied, different and fun. We want the girls to mature as learners and individuals, to learn about teamwork, to encounter new areas and to build their knowledge of careers and the working world.
We do this by presenting a full and organised programme that blends academic, physical, social and work activities. Every girl can discover new subjects, explore her talents and abilities outside the classroom, and learn about teamwork and cooperation in the world of work.
Our TY Programme
The programme provides a balance between academic and non-academic areas.
It is learning-led rather than exam-led, and has a range of teaching and learning styles to help girls develop effective learning habits both individually and within groups.
All students continue their studies in the core subjects of English, Irish, Maths, a modern language, Science, ICT, History, Geography, Religion, and Physical Education.
Girls can take optional modules in art appreciation, choir, classics, creative writing, culinary arts, ECDL, film making, guitar, international relations, a second modern language, music technology, public speaking and communication, psychology, textile craft and website design. There are also performance modules in dance, drama and stage management, music, animation, videography and fashion design.
Experiencing the Working World
The TY programme helps girls to connect with adult and working life by providing work experience and career guidance. The girls research and seek their work placements and they discuss and assess the experiences in class. Students participate in 3 to 5 weeks of work experience during the TY programme as well as learn how to write a CV and cover letter and practice their interview skills. This work experience programme is enhanced by our World of Work module.
A cornerstone of the World of Work module is learning entrepreneurial skills and teamwork through the Mini Company project. The girls conduct market research, create a product, and market that product to the school community as a team. These companies sell their products at Market Day in November and Artisan Day in May each year. The girls learn to work together and develop their organisational skills.
The TY programme challenges students in all areas of their development.
In particular it promotes maturity amongst the girls in a broad sense:
- Maturity in studies by making students more self-directed learners
- Maturity in relation to work and careers by developing work-related skills
- Personal maturity by providing opportunities to develop communication skills, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility
- Social maturity by developing greater people skills and more awareness of the world outside school
There is plenty of project work covering social awareness – Education for Living and Young Social Innovator – and the world of work – Young Entrepreneur Mini-Company and Alex Artisans. TY students are also asked to undertake assignments, interviews and research, helping them to learn in new and active ways. During the Social Outreach Module, students take part in a variety of activities including working with the Alexandra College Junior School, creating and editing the TY Magazine, managing our Green Schools initiatives, or teaching IT skills to the elderly at Age Action.
There are many other TY experiences for the girls during the year, including activities in music and drama, charity work, outdoor events and trips, and inter-school sporting competitions.
A Sense of Completion
Although the TY programme does not lead to an exam there is definitely a sense of completion and achievement bound up in the programme.
Every girl has her level of commitment and achievement assessed as the year progresses. Certificates are awarded at the end of the year to all students who have submitted the required assignments and achieved the required standards in each subject. Awards are presented for excellence and for Student of the Year. A Department of Education and Skills Transition Year Certificate is awarded to each student who completes the TY programme at the College.
But the true value in TY comes from the opportunity to learn about yourself, your potential and your strengths and weaknesses. It gives you the chance to develop your skills and interests and to decide how these may be used in your own personal and career development as well as in outreach to the community and service to others. TY is also a time to develop several important skills: working as a member of a team, working and co-operating with adults and meeting deadlines.
By the end of TY each girl will be in the habit of setting goals and working to achieve them while taking the needs of others into account. She will have gained confidence in herself and increased her respect for others. The TY Programme prepares girls to question, to challenge, to think independently and to work collaboratively, to adapt - to develop their own strategies, to invent, to cooperate, and to lead.