Transition Year

Transition Year provides a bridge between the Junior and Senior Cycles. It offers a broad educational experience promoting the personal, social, academic, and vocational development of each student. It provides us with opportunities to create new learning environments in which each student can discover their own individual talents, aptitudes, and abilities.

Some highlights from our TY programme include the comprehensive taster programme of Leaving Certificate subjects, French and German exchange, trips to Carlingford and Glendalough, shared modules with Good Counsel College, Hillwalking and BBQ with Good Counsel College, Work Experience, Surfing, Cycling the Greenway and a variety of workshops throughout the year.

Your Questions Answered

What Is Transition Year?

The Transition Year is an optional one-year, school-based programme between the 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.

In St Mary’s, the Transition Year offers students an opportunity to engage in independent, self-directed learning, to develop general, technical, and academic skills, and to mature and develop without the pressure of an examination. 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.

What are the benefits of completing the Transition Year programme?

Academic Advantages:

Studies show TY Students score 50 CAO points more on average and a higher percentage go on to study at 3rd level. TY enables students to take greater responsibility for their own learning and decision-making.

Career and Work Experience:

Gives Students time to explore different career options and then to pursue work experience in these areas. Students also partake in trips to many Third-Level institutions, and complete career investigations and RCSI courses.

Self-Confidence and Leadership:

Students undertake multiple leadership courses and activities. They also get the opportunity to work with younger classes, which develops confidence in public speaking. They also have weekly public speaking classes.


Over the course of the year, students complete various certifiable courses and are encouraged to achieve the Gaisce President’s Award. Such courses include ICDL (International Computer Driving Licence) and Dulann Online Work Experience programmes (topics covered include IT, Hospitality Customer Care, Food Safety, Driver Safety Awareness, Cardiac First Responder). These will bolster areas such as CV and college applications, student personal development, time management, and the ability to work independently.

Social Contribution:

Students undertake various volunteering opportunities with organizations such as SVP. They also run many fundraisers as part of their Social Innovators Module.

Is Transition Year a good idea for my daughter?

Is she? (or does she want to be?) –

  • Motivated, enthusiastic, committed, and willing to engage with all TY has to offer, including finding her own work experience opportunities.
  • Enthusiastic about trying all the opportunities and subjects the TY curriculum offers?
  • Committed to being present, punctual, and engaged with all aspects of the TY course?
  • Willing to volunteer her time and expertise to help others?
  • Creative, a leader, good at working in a group?
  • Interested in improving her skills and gaining useful certification in areas such as First Aid, ICDL, Gaisce, and Dulann programme (topics include Hospitality Customer Care, Food Safety, Driver Safety Awareness, and Cardiac First Responder)

What subjects are undertaken during the Transition Year?

(*This is not an exhaustive list and may change depending on timetabling and resources.)

Geography HistoryReligion
Music ArtsHome Economics
GAA Future LeadersYSIFrench/German
Business PEPublic Speaking
Design Communication Graphics Film Studies 

Work Experience

Students have a weekly Careers class where they get to explore and investigate potential careers as well as develop skills and competencies that will allow them to maximize potential opportunities. Students are expected to complete three Work Experience placements in areas that are of interest to them. Work experience takes place on a Friday and each placement lasts 9-10 Fridays. Students are required to secure their own placements. Students will be assigned a Work Experience Mentor who will guide them through the process and also ensure that relevant evaluations have been completed.

Students may apply for leave for additional work experience if there are sufficient educational benefits (maximum 2 extra weeks) and parents must contact the coordinator to ensure that this does not clash with essential programme activities.

How is the Transition Year assessed?

Transition Year students will be assessed continuously over the year, using a credit-based system. The rationale for this is as follows:

  • It will increase student accountability
  • It will reward the students who engage most with the programme
  • It will provide a slightly more academic focus, ensuring students can integrate more easily back into 5th-year

Each Teacher would be responsible for devising how they wish to allocate credits (Exams/Individual or Group Projects/Pass/Fail Basis). Core Subjects would be encouraged to use a common assessment.

Sample of how credits are awarded
  • Distinction will be awarded to students who achieve 340 credits or more. (the equivalent of A grade)
  • Merit will be awarded to students who achieve a minimum of 220 credits. (the equivalent of B or C grade)
  • Pass is awarded to students who achieve a minimum of 160 credits
  • Certification of Recognition for TY participation will be awarded to students who receive below 160 credits.
  • On TY presentation night students will receive their cert and the back of the cert will have a breakdown of the number of credits per subject that student received.

Applying for Transition Year

Students can apply for Transition Year in December of their 3rd Year when application forms will be made available to all students. Details of fees will be available at that time also.

Contacting the coordinator

If you have any questions about the Transition Year you can contact Anne Marie Goulding (Transition Year Co-coordinator) at

Subject Max number of credits awarded
Physical Education25
Religious Education25
Business Studies25
Information Technology/ICDL25
Film/Media Studies25
Music Production25
Public Speaking25
Internal St Mary’s Modules
Education for Living Modules (4 modules, each module awarded a maximum of 10 credits)
Space Science10
First Aid10
Portfolio, Work Experience Diary15
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