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Transition Year: Introduction

Transition Year (TY) offers a welcome pause at the end of Junior Certificate exams, before plunging into the two-year Leaving Certificate programme. With schools responsible for creating their own TY programmes, there is scope to try different Transition Year ideas and Alison is here to help, with dozens of courses, whatever your need.

While Maths, RE, Irish and English are core subjects that schools must provide, there is a great deal of flexibility around courses, transition units and short modules. Our Transition Year hub draws on the guidelines issued by the Department of Education and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), mindful of TY’s 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’. Here, you will find many engaging and worthwhile courses, whether you are your school’s Transition Year coordinator or a student, looking for a course in a subject you are interested in, from Irish music to mental wellbeing, computing to the environment.

With an emphasis on preparing for adult life, Transition Year encourages students to develop practical skills from cooking to car maintenance, and Alison provides many relevant courses to support that learning. As well as particular subject areas, we have a wealth of courses to support students’ personal and social development and help them become independent learners, ready for the challenges of Leaving Cert. With no formal exams, Transition Year pupils are assessed on their commitment to learning and their end-of-year project, performance, portfolio or the product of their Transition Year business ideas. Alison’s free online courses make learning fun and the assessments are interactive and quick. Who knows, you might have some certifications you would never have thought of to add to your end of Transition Year certificate!

Arts and Music

Creative pastimes are an important aspect of achieving a good school-life balance. They are absorbing and can help you forget your worries. They can also help you develop critical thinking and hone your abilities to work independently. Transition Year programmes offer the opportunity to express yourself and to learn new skills. Alison’s free beginner courses in Traditional Irish music are perfect for anyone who wants to learn an instrument for the Gaisce Awards, and include fiddle, guitar, tin whistle, flute, bodhrán, concertina, button accordion and sean-nós singing. For creative types who are interested in pursuing a post-study life in the arts, film or media, a course can help you learn skills that will prove useful for your future career, never mind your next project. Discover how to use PhotoShop effectively and elevate your project to a professional level. Or master the elements of digital photography to create images that are in themselves works of art. Both subjects are included in the many free online certified courses offered by Alison. Even if you decide against a career in these fields, you will have discovered how to take your Tiktok or Instagram skills to the next level.

Health & Wellbeing

Students often weigh up the pros and cons of Transition Year, wondering whether it’s worth taking the year out of their formal education. With a recent survey* recording a significant rise in anxiety levels among young people, Transition Year (TY) has the potential to improve students’ wellbeing, with exam stresses out of the equation. And with their generation’s wellbeing to the fore, they may be interested in exploring the areas of health and mental health. That curiosity about who they are and desire to discover their purpose in life can lead them on a journey of discovery about what makes them tick and even, whether they can support others who are going through challenges of their own. Alison’s free online certified health courses cover a wealth of areas and are packed with useful information about everything from managing stress to choosing a healthy lifestyle. For the sports-minded, there are courses on everything from avoiding injury when training to coaching styles and techniques. And with diet being a core aspect of wellbeing, we’ve served up a healthy helping of food and nutrition courses too. *“My World Survey 2” by UCD School of Psychology and the youth mental health organisation Jigsaw.

Environmental Studies

Thanks in part to teenage activists like Greta Thunberg, Environmental Studies are important to today’s young people. Exploring the topic as part of Local & Global Citizenship in Transition Year provides the opportunity to dig deep into this vast subject area and discover which aspects are most important to you. It also lends itself perfectly to field trips. Perhaps it’s the impact of plastics on our oceans or you may be intrigued by the science behind climate change. In Ireland in particular, there are ongoing debates about the contribution livestock make to greenhouse gas emissions and the importance of bogs, meadows and forests for absorbing them. Biodiversity is another key aspect of Environmental Studies, encompassing all of nature’s rich and varied offerings, right down to the raw materials that support economic development. Unfortunately, modern life is impacting the natural world, with the loss of wildlife habitats leading to the decline of many species. Rather than focusing on the negative, a course can help students understand what they can do to protect biodiversity, creating space for wildlife and helping to nurture a sustainable future for every person - and creature. You’ll find many of these topics covered in Alison’s online, certified courses. They could be the first step towards making your world a better place. *“My World Survey 2” by UCD School of Psychology and the youth mental health organisation Jigsaw.


What is the point of the Transition Year programme?
Are all TY programmes the same?
What is different about the lessons?
Is everything based in the classroom?
Are there exams in TY?

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