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Transition Year

The Transition Year (TY) is a one-year programme that forms the first year of a three-year senior cycle in many schools. It is designed to act as a bridge between the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate programmes. It is available to all second level schools and currently approximately 75% of schools offer the programme. Transition Year is optional for students in most schools.

Each school designs its own Transition Year programme, within set guidelines, to suit the needs and interests of its students.

Transition Units

Transition units (TUs) are new curriculum components that are timetabled for approximately 45 hours. Alongside shorter modules and other learning experiences, schools may include a variety of TUs as part of their transition year programme. Transition units are not intended to be 'exam' courses but are assessed as part of the teaching and learning in the unit.

  • Developing Transition Units: Support for Schools

    In developing transition units, schools may create some completely new units, they may decide to adapt some of the modules they already offer as part of their TY programme or adapt a transition unit that has been developed by another school or by an organisation.

  • The B!G IDEA - Creativity with a purpose

    The Big Idea is a 15-week practically-oriented creative programme developed to empower students to use their creativity to develop a B!G idea (solution) to tackle society’s biggest challenges. 

    Creativity is a mindset, a skillset and a process. Each week teachers and their students are guided through The Big Idea digital supports to learn how to use and apply creative strategies to solve problems. Through their engagement with the creative process, students can apply this knowledge and understanding of creativity to investigate solutions to their chosen brief.

  • UCD Access Classics

    This Transition Year (TY) Unit developed by UCD encourages students to engage with and explore the culture of ancient Greece and Rome thematically, and to draw and discuss connections with the modern world, thereby allowing students to question their own place in the world and their connections with others. 

    Full Teachers'Manual and resources are available on the UCD Classics website.

  • Young Social Innovators

    A youth-led, team-based and action-focused transition unit enables young people co-design and create innovative responses to social issues they care about. Participation enables students to develop 21st century skills for life and work as well as giving them a voice and agency on the issues that matter to them.

  • Linking and Learning

    This transition unit provides a range of activities aimed at helping students to explore their understanding of North/South learning partnerships and it challenges students to think critically about their perceptions of themselves, their world and their place in it. Developed by Léargas to support the Worldwise project.

  • Chinese Culture and Language Studies

    This transition unit introduces students to both traditional and modern aspects of Chinese culture. The fourteen topics cover a wide range of areas such as Chinese food, Chinese music and school life in China. Students also have the opportunity to learn some Chinese words and phrases as they progress through the unit. Developed by the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland.

  • Together for Rights

    The 'Pamoja-Together for Rights' transition unit helps students to explore development and human rights issues in a global context. It supports a student-centred approach to learning as students examine a human rights issue of interest to them, complete a project and undertake awareness-raising actions. Developed by Trócaire.

  • Global Development Issues

    This transition unit provides an introduction to development issues. It engages students in analysis, reflection and action for local and global citizenship. Teachers can choose to teach from thematic strands - Poverty, Conflict, Gender Inequality, Sustainable Environments, Trade; Health and HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. Developed by St. Mary's Academy Carlow, Self Help Africa, Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium.

  • Debating Development

    This TU invites students to explore and debate some of the biggest questions facing our world today. Students will learn how to research, select and evaluate material. They will acquire the skills of speech writing and then through lively and informed debating all students will gain confidence and skills in speaking in front of their peers. Developed by Concern.

  • Good Food – The Irish Experience

    This transition unit is designed to give students a broader knowledge of Irish food heritage. It enables students to examine trends in eating habits that are occurring in Ireland. Students will plan, prepare, cook and present a range of dishes using traditional ingredients and local produce while using recipes that can be modified to suit modern lifestyles. Developed by Fáilte Ireland.

  • Tourism Studies – The Irish Experience

    This transition unit enables students to investigate aspects of tourism in Ireland and abroad. They will focus in a special way on their own local area and critically evaluate their own area as a tourist destination. The unit also explores training and career opportunities in the context of tourism and hospitality. Developed by Fáilte Ireland.

  • Student Safety in the Workplace

    Student Safety in the Workplace introduces students to the principles of safety and health. It is particularly useful for TY students who will be engaging in some form of work experience and those who are actively engaged in part-time or holiday work. The unit is relevant to all students as future members of the work force. Developed by the Health and Safety Authority.

  • Artykats

    This Unit involves collaboration between the Art and Woodwork teacher to enable students produce stylized wooden cats. As well as developing their practical and creative skills students can develop entrepreneurial skills as they plan how best to sell their finished Artykats. Developed by Margaret Maher (Art teacher) and David O'Connell (Construction Studies teacher), Ashbourne Community School.

  • What’s with the Weather?

    Through experiments, role-plays and project work, students explore the impact of climate change and decide how they can change their own habits to make a difference. Developed by Emma O'Beirne, Ashbourne Community School.

  • Environmental Studies

    This unit encourages students to explore issues that are affecting their environment. They will carry out practical projects and actions such as developing a community garden, recycling, tree planting, bulb planting, wild life gardens, environmental surveys etc. Developed by Terry Lawless, St. Killian's Community School, Bray.

  • Road Safe

    Road Safe takes an active project-based approach to developing the values and skills which underpin responsible decision-making and respect for the rights and safety of others. The unit is supported by digital resources on the Road Safety Authority website. Developed by the Road Safety Authority.

  • Design and Discovery

    Design and Discovery promotes a hands-on learning experience by encouraging students to identify creative solutions to everyday problems in the world of design and engineering. Developed by INTEL.

  • Soap Operas and Popular Culture

    This unit focuses on the analysis of contemporary themes from modern culture as conveyed through soaps and aspects of cinematography. Developed by Norma Murray, Glanmire Community School.

  • Food Matters

    This transition unit provides an opportunity for students to work creatively with food and develop practical cookery skills while at the same time opening up issues of interest and relevance to young people. Developed by Kerry Miles, St. Joseph's College, Lucan.

  • Legal Studies

    This transition unit introduces students to the study of law and the legal system in Ireland. Developed by Peter Leydon, Wesley College, Dublin.

  • Sports Coaching

    This transition unit prepares students to develop basic coaching skills, before they work with students from local primary schools for a number of weeks. Developed by Michael Carey, Glanmire Community School, Cork.

  • Reading the Silver Screen

    This transition unit on film studies helps students to understand film in a wider context and empowers them to become critical and active viewers. Developed by Denis Grace, St. Louis High School, Rathmines.

  • Introduction to Genetics and Biotechnology

    This TU is based on topical issues of genetics and biotechnology and helps students to relate theory to everyday applications.

  • Discovering Irish Art

    In this unit students research an Irish artist of their choice and create their own piece of art in the style of that artist. Developed by Margaret Maher, Ashbourne Community School.

  • Media and Communications

    This unit aims to develop students' visual literacy and ICT skills through a high level engagement with visual and moving images. Developed by Norma Murray, Glanmire Community School, Cork.

  • Ireland – A Level Playing Pitch

    This TU, developed by the Combat Poverty Agency, uses students' community work experience to explore the work of local community groups and organisations that enable and empower those who are disadvantaged to participate in society. Developed by Combat Poverty Agency.

  • Setting up a Green School

    Through this TU, students are encouraged to audit, evaluate and change their school environment for the better. It intends to lead to the ultimate prize of being awarded the status of 'Green School' from an Taisce. Developed by Brendan Walsh, Glanmire Community School, Cork.

  • Creative Writing

    This Unit introduces students to the 'craft' of creative writing and helps them to see that their own lives and experiences provide ample inspiration for good writing. Developed by Denis Carolan, Ashbourne Community School.

  • Producing a School Magazine

    This Unit sets out how the English and Business teachers can work together with TY students in producing a school magazine. Developed by Alice Strain and Mary Hayes, Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel.

  • Japanese Studies

    This Unit gives students a taste of Japanese culture - through Japanese music, film, food and language. Developed by Melanie Earwaker, St. Louis Highschool, Rathmines, Dublin.

  • Looking in – Reaching Out

    This Unit gives TY students a chance to work with primary school children in exploring their understanding of community, friendship and God. Developed by Kathriona Murphy, Presentation Secondary School, Clonmel.

  • Lost in Translation

    This Unit provides interesting opportunities for cross-curricular work with modern languages, religious education, geography, home economics and history as students explore and celebrate the diverse cultures that are a part of Ireland today. Developed by Aileen Keena, Athlone Community College.

  • I’ve Got Something to Say

    This transition unit which focuses on developing students' oral presentation skills will help learners become effective and confident communicators. The unit gives learners a great sense of personal achievement as they fulfil the personal goal of speaking with confidence in front of an audience. Developed by Hazel Hannon, Athlone Community College, based on resources developed by the Irish Board of Speech and Drama (

  • It’s your Future!

    This transition unit encourages students to consider options in further and higher education and training. Students learn about their own strengths, interests and abilities, what education or training courses are on offer and what kind of courses are likely to suit them and help them to reach their full potential. This unit is particularly aimed at those students who might not think about further or higher education as an option. Developed by the Higher Education Authority

  • How the World Works (Updated 2021)

    The unit provides learners with the opportunity to explore how structures of poverty and inequality have emerged and are being perpetuated on a global level. Distributive questions of justice underpin the approach, as ‘who gains’ and ‘who loses’ are questions central to the resource. Critical thinking as applied to local and global power relations is developed as students are encouraged to interrogate the ‘taken-for-granted’ status of many elements of society. Connections are made between injustice in Ireland in other countries in order to foster a sense of solidarity. Students will also consider the role that they play in the world, and how they can help change the way the world works by stepping into their role as active global citizens. A strong emphasis on audio visual resources and active learning makes this a fun, accessible and impactful TU for all Transition Year students.
    (Updated June 2021)

  • Having fun with computer programming and gaming

    This TU introduces students to computer programming and games in a fun and exciting way. Students will be able to write their own programs, animations and stories and bring them to life within a short space of time. All the software, worksheets and lesson plans are available to download free of charge.Developed for Irish teachers by Lero: The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre, University of Limerick.

  • Moving Image

    This transition unit offers an introduction to film and moving image. It provides opportunities for students to be very active in their learning and outlines a structured programme of screenings, lesson plans and activities, supported by study guides. It is built around three distinct strands -- Teen Film, Irish Film and Alternative Film (Wider Visions), which can be explored in a flexible manner, drawing on students' and teachers' existing film knowledge and interests. Study guides can be downloaded free of charge. Developed by the Irish Film Institute.

  • The Future is Food

    In this transition unit students find out about the food industry in Ireland and learn the basic skills and knowledge essential to setting up a small company related to a food product. Developed by the Taste Council of Ireland.