Transition year: A life-changing experience


Sir, – Carl O’Brien’s article (Home News, November 25th) made me feel sorry that some schools are not offering transition year. I am also disheartened to read a letter calling it a “doss year”, where the students are “photocopying, school trips, waitressing and filing” (November 27th). Such a narrow- minded idea of a year full of enlightenment and new subjects to experiment and learn.

When I did my transition year, back in 1977, our school was the first in the country to try out this new system. You could say we were guinea pigs, with nobody really knowing what to do with us. But I found it informative and enriching; taking on new subjects as well as our usual ones, along with Christmas and summer exams.

Today, after my three sons have been through the system of transition year, I see that it has evolved into a broadening of horizons, and for some, a life changing experience as the young people get a tentative look at the world – work experience and care week – and see what life is like outside of the school playground. The list of extracurricular activities is endless. There is something for everyone.

People at the tender age of 16 or 17 need time to mature so they can try to make that very important decision about what subjects to take for their Leaving Cert, and their life. After sitting the Junior Cert, which brings its own stresses, these young people need time out to enjoy school again.

Of course there will always be those who have no need for this “doss year”, they want to keep working hard and pressing forward. To each his own.

These students are only young for a very short duration. There is time enough to be rushing out into the big bad world. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 6.