Transition Year - Ordinary Level

Advice for Parents

The first line in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities begins with, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” This is true of Transition Year (TY) as well. If your child approaches TY with an open mind, with a determination to squeeze the last drop out of all the opportunities, and if the TY is well organised by the school, then it will be the best of times. If your child wants a year off, with no homework or projects done – and if (s)he wants to slip under the radar for a year – then it will be the worst of times and your child will have taken a step backwards. Don’t let this happen. Your child will regret it and so will you.

An ESRI survey showed that students who do TY do significantly better in the Leaving Cert than those who don’t. I’m a big believer in TY – so long as it is well run and well administered – with academic thrust still there. It’s nice to be able to learn without the threat of a public exam. Many students blossom during TY and find their own authentic voice. Others do little and regret it at the end of TY. Make sure your child does the right thing.

Transition Year is well named. It is the transition from Junior Cert (where much of the learning is teacher-driven) to Leaving Cert (where much of the learning is student-driven). Encourage your child to use TY to become more independent, more determined to do things for himself (or herself).

Homework is important. If your child slings the schoolbag in the corner and announces that there is no homework to be done, then something is wrong.

Your child should improve at Maths during TY. If they have any weaknesses, they should use TY to brush up.