An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Department of Education and Science

 

Transition Year Programme Evaluation

REPORT

 

Coláiste Bhríde

Carnew, County Wicklow

 

Roll Number 70790E

 

Date of inspection: 20 and 23 November 2007

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluation of ty

Introduction

Quality of programme organisation

Quality of programme planning and coordination

Quality of learning and teaching

Programme evaluation and outcomes

Summary of strengths and recommendations for further development

School Response to the Report

 

 

 

 

Evaluation of ty

 

The Transition Year (TY) programme is a one year programme for students who have completed the Junior Certificate. The TY provides a bridge to enable them to make the transition from the more dependant type of learning associated with the Junior Certificate to the more independent learning environment of the senior cycle. The programme promotes the personal, social, vocational and educational development of students and prepares them for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society. Transition Year fosters academic achievement as students prepare for a Leaving Certificate programme, further study and adult and working life. It encourages the development of a wide range of transferable critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.  The board of management of the school was given an opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report, and the response of the board will be found in the appendix of this report.

 

 

Introduction

 

This report has been written following an evaluation of the TY in Coláiste Bhríde, Carnew. It presents the findings of the evaluation and makes recommendations for the further development of the programme in the school. During the evaluation, the inspector held meetings with the school principal, the co-ordinator, a core group of teachers and with a small group of students. The evaluation was conducted over two days during which the inspector liaised extensively with the programme coordinator and visited classrooms to observe teaching and learning. The inspector provided oral feedback to teachers on lessons observed. The inspector also examined students’ work and reviewed relevant documentation pertaining to the programme, as well as teachers’ written preparation. The outcomes of the evaluation were discussed with the school principal, the programme coordinator and members of the core team at the end of the evaluation period.

 

Transition Year (TY) was introduced into the Coláiste Bhríde in 2001. The programme has grown in popularity to the extent that the current year sees expansion of TY provision in the school to two class groups. The current TY yearbook aptly captures the school’s TY philosophy; “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

 

The whole school community, including parents, school management, teaching staff and students recognize the value of TY and how the programme fulfils the school’s mission of preparing “students for life and responsible citizenship and to motivate them toward the achievement of their full potential”.

 

 

1 Quality of programme organisation

 

1.1               Whole school support

 

The implementation of the TY programme at Coláiste Bhríde adheres to the school’s threefold TY mission of providing for the personal, social and intellectual development of students, preparing students to become active participants in their learning and providing students with a broad range of academic and cultural experiences. Evidence was provided during the course of the evaluation to show that the school’s broad aims of developing student maturity, key skills and preparation for adult and working life were being fulfilled. The fulfilling of objectives is ongoing from year to year.

 

A very good whole school approach to TY is adopted in accordance with Transition Year Programmes Guidelines for Schools. Thirty teaching staff are well deployed across the various subjects, modules, activities and events that encompass the programme. Staff are well informed with provision of a dedicated TY team meeting at the beginning of the year and TY coordinator input into staff meetings throughout the year. Senior management provides all necessary support to the programme and delegates many important responsibilities to a dedicated TY core-team. Morale among the TY teaching team is very high with teachers being encouraged to develop new innovative modules to further enhance the breadth and balance of the TY programme in the school.

 

The core-team consists of eight members including the TY coordinator, programme coordinator, class tutors and relevant TY teachers. There is good class contact between core team members and TY class groups. For example, each class group has a tutor lesson each week in which students are supported at individual and group level and in which many aspects of the programme are advanced.  In addition, the coordinators have contact with each group for subjects/modules. In addition, the TY coordinator is also year head of TY and has very good contact with students in this capacity and has developed effective liaison mechanisms with TY class tutors and with senior management. In this way students’ personal and pastoral needs are well catered for in Coláiste Bhríde together with their academic needs.

 

Both TY class groups are in mixed ability settings for most subjects and modules. Irish, Mathematics and French class groups are banded according to level. In addition, students in need of extra support are well catered for by the school.

 

Staff are well deployed across the TY programme. Teachers’ diverse skills and talents are very well utilized across the programme and external facilitators are sourced to provide specialist modules, when necessary. Senior management has a lot of experience and knowledge regarding TY, is well informed regarding programme implementation and outcomes and comprehensively support TY.

 

The school was represented at the TY National Conference in 2007. Other inservice courses have been attended at the inception of TY in the school and input has been provided by the Second Level Support Service (SLSS) in the form of school based inservice. It is recommended that consideration be given to pursuing further inservice in areas such as writing the TY programme and various subject based inservice to enhance and support the teaching of TY. Reference should be made to the SLSS website slss.ie.

 

The whole school community strongly supports and affirms successes and achievements of TY students. Photographs of TY students’ activities are on display and the production of the annual TY yearbook celebrates successes of TY students and makes the wider community more aware of the myriad of activities taking place.

 

1.2               Resources

 

There is a designated and well resourced office for TY and Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) coordination. Students and staff are kept well informed regarding TY by means of dedicated TY notice boards. Some resources are stored in the coordination office, some in the staffroom and various subject relevant resources are stored in subject departments or specialist rooms. It would be useful to have an up-to-date list of all TY resources available. Therefore it is recommended that an inventory of TY resources be drawn up and that this be kept updated at regular intervals. In the absence of a central TY resource area, this inventory should state the location of each resource so that all staff can readily access materials needed for TY.

 

Comprehensive folders of resources are maintained by the coordinators. These contain details of the many activities and modules included in the programme in the current year and in previous years. In addition, there are many materials including; samples of various forms, certificates and assessment reports, letters sent and received and material relating to work experience. The work of the coordinators in compiling and maintaining these folders is highly commended. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is used extensively in many aspects of the TY programme including its planning and organisation. The e-portal system exists in all school classrooms and therefore TY teachers can easily access the TY resource folder electronically. This resource is currently under development and the school is encouraged to continue to build up this useful TY resource.

 

On enrolment to the programme, parents agree to the payment of a contribution to cover expenses for most activities. There are additional charges for other activities and courses including the outdoor pursuits trip and registration for the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL).

 

The school has put very good ICT facilities in place. The computer room is well utilized and in the course of the evaluation it was observed to be used for ECDL. ICT is generally well utilized by TY teachers and students. Most classrooms are teacher based, which has the advantage of lessons taking place in a subject relevant environment. This was observed to be the case for the vast majority of lessons evaluated. This is highly commended.

 

1.3               Student selection

 

TY is an optional programme at Coláiste Bhríde. The programme has progressively gained popularity with two class groups, each of twenty six students following TY in the current year. The criteria regarding applications to TY are clearly laid out in the school’s enrolment policy. Applications to TY are assessed by school management and the TY core team. Criteria taken into account include the availability of places in the programme and the student’s school record and participation in school life. In addition students are interviewed.

 

Feedback from TY students in the course of the evaluation indicated that they were happy to have chosen the programme.  Students highlighted the many strengths of the programme.

 

1.4               Home, school and community links

 

A TY induction evening is held in January of each year where TY students and parents are given information regarding the school’s TY programme. Following this meeting applications forms are given to interested students. Parents are invited to attend school events such as the drama production, Environs awards and the celebration evening. Parent-teacher meetings are held for TY students in February. In light of the school having introduced students’ presence in third and sixth year parent teacher meetings, it is recommended that consideration is given to extending this practice to TY students. Each student has a journal which may be used as a means of communication between home and school and vice versa.

 

Strong links have been forged with the local community and beyond through Transition Year. Many TY students are involved in the very successful Health Services Executive (HSE) Home First project. Students give their time to work with the elderly and strong bonds have been formed as a consequence. For example TY students partake in social evenings in the local day care centre and actively participate with the elderly to events such as swimming, storytelling and toastmasters. This is highly commended. TY students are involved in many voluntary activities including GAA coaching and Wednesday afternoon activities in local primary schools. In addition, TY students participate in school visits to primary schools. Links have been developed with other schools and the wider community through many TY activities including the Young Social Innovators projects, Gaisce, Young Enterprise projects, Mini Company, Drama music events and fundraising.

 

The annual TY yearbook provides the whole-school community with a wealth of information on TY activities in Coláiste Bhríde. It also celebrates the successes of TY students in the school. Last year’s production of the yearbook was colourful and very well produced. This considerable project is highly commended as it promotes the aims of TY to the whole school community.

 

TY students undertake one week of work experience in February. In addition, students are encouraged to source another week’s work experience during the school holiday period. In light of work experience being an integral part of the TY programme, the school is encouraged to give consideration to students spending a more extended period on either work experience, work shadowing or community work.

 

Students are well prepared for their work experience placement. Preparation includes curriculum vitae work, letter writing, interview skills, behaviour guidelines and skills and values employers seek. Work experience is well organised by the guidance service together with the coordinators. Students source their own placement and receive a well prepared pack of information from the school guidance department. They are encouraged to source a career sampling placement and are helped in this process, if necessary. The well produced work experience diary contains much useful and relevant information including a student daily evaluation form, a student report form, the employer’s report and parents comments. This approach is highly commended.  Contact with employers during work experience is in the form of a phone call or a visit by a mentoring teacher if necessary. Links forged during work experience have proven very useful, for example employers may help with mock interviews or may become guest speakers for various school programmes. This helps to consolidate the whole school approach and is commended.

 

1.5 Supports for students

 

TY students at Coláiste Bhríde are provided with timetabled guidance provision.  Students and parents are given expert advice and support regarding choice of suitable subjects for Leaving Certificate. Students are well prepared for work experience and are supported throughout the work placement. Feedback from students, parents and employers help to modify work experience in future years. This is highly commended.

 

All TY students receive a timetabled tutor class each week during which support is given on a wide range of issues including students’ pastoral and social needs. Students with additional needs are well supported in TY. Six students have exemptions from Irish and receive extra English support and additional support for other tasks including projects and presentations. A small number of students have been allocated resource hours by the Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) and are withdrawn at suitable times for additional support. Those TY students with first language other than English also receive additional language support when needed. The school encourages active participation of gifted students in the Centre for Talented Youth in Ireland (CTYI) at Dublin City University.

 

 

2 Quality of programme planning and coordination

 

2.1               Coordination

 

Transition Year coordination is carried out very effectively by the TY coordinator and the programme coordinator. The TY coordinator carries out the day to day operation of TY in the school and is supported fully by the programme coordinator, core team and in-school management. The coordinators work very well as a team and display a leadership role in running TY in the school. The TY coordinator is also year head of Transition Year and therefore has a pastoral, administrative and discipline role with students in addition to attending to TY programme matters. There is an opportunity to address many of these matters at the timetabled tutor class. The over-arching role of programme coordinator in TY is clearly documented. The coordinators’ duties listed include researching new TY modules, recruitment of facilitators, reviewing and selection of third year students, maintaining the planning folder, in-service coordination, liaison with principal and guidance counsellor, TY evaluation, TY yearbook coordination, mentor for work experience and CTYI coordinator. In addition, the TY coordinator and programme coordinator play an active part in parents’ information evenings and TY celebration and awards events. Liaison with parents is good with the programme coordinator currently acting as one of the parent teacher representative on the parents’ association. The post of TY coordinator carries a time allowance of one hour and ten minutes, while the post of programme coordinator carries a time allowance of six hours. The programme coordinator is also LCA coordinator in the school. The commitment and dedication to coordination is highly commended.

 

There is effective communication with staff and senior management. As a member of the school management team, the programme coordinator supports the TY year head in all TY matters. Staff may reference the TY folder on the school computer network from any classroom on the school’s e-portal system. Relevant information is disseminated effectively. For example there is a TY notice board in the staffroom and a dedicated whiteboard which is updated daily regarding TY events, news and activities. There is good class contact with the coordinators.

 

2.2 Planning

 

TY core team meetings take place at least once each half term. A meeting time is requested from senior management and is facilitated. These meetings are minuted and minutes are made available to in-school management. The minutes of core team meetings provide evidence that these meetings play a very useful part in the long term planning for TY in the school. Items on the agenda include the revision of the programme, input at school information nights for parents and students, and new ideas for the TY programme. In addition the TY coordinators meet each week to plan ongoing activities. This is commended.

 

The current TY written plan outlines many aspects of the programme including the TY mission statement and aims, policy on application for TY, details of subjects, modules and activities, homework and assessment, the student folder of achievement and an outline of costs incurred by TY students. In addition, there is an outline of most of the subjects and modules on offer to current TY students. However, this written plan needs significant improvement and it is recommended that it be written up with reference to Department guidelines on writing the programme. The general introduction should outline how the school will assess and evaluate the TY programme. In addition, it is recommended that the organisational details section of the programme should include names of coordinators and core team members, names of students including class groupings, the weekly timetable, assessment and certification, and evaluation details of the programme. The plan should include accurate and up-to-date details of the current TY curriculum including student subject and module choices. It is commendable that this information is available but it is important that it be incorporated into the TY plan.

 

A common template has been used by subject departments to write up the TY subject and module details. However, many of the subject plans require more detailed information on areas such as teaching and learning strategies, resources and how they are used, links with other subjects, assessment and evaluation criteria. In addition the subject aims and objectives have been omitted. Therefore, it is recommended that the TY subject plans be revisited and updated in line with Department guidelines. Reference should be made to the SLSS website, slss.ie for further assistance. It is essential that the written programme reflects the taught programme and that details of all subjects and modules be included in the written plan. Much useful information relevant to TY is already available in the school and could be included into a redrafted TY written plan.

 

2.3               Curriculum

 

The school tries to balance student needs, curriculum expectations, teacher expertise and availability, and costs of outside facilitators in drawing up its TY timetable. Very good efforts are made to apply sound principles in planning for the timetable with a clear emphasis on the aims of TY and on the balance between academic and developmental education. Evidence was provided in the course of the evaluation that students’ personal and social skills are fostered together with their academic skills.

 

All TY students at Coláiste Bhríde take the core subjects Irish, English, Mathematics, IT (ECDL), Personal Development, Careers, Religion, Environmental and Social Studies, Business, and Tutor class. All students take a ten week module in each of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, First Aid, Speech and Drama and ECDL. This ECDL module is offered as a top-up to the core subject. Students are offered French or Technology, the latter being mainly for students who did not take a modern European language for the Junior Certificate. Students are requested to choose one subject from each of the blocks, Technical Graphics, Engineering, Home Economics, Young Social Innovators (YSI) and from Home Economics, Woodwork, Music, YSI. These two subjects are taken for the whole year. All students do Swimming for ten weeks. Students may choose between Hill Walking or Tennis or Tae-kwon-do when Swimming is not offered. Students may choose between Drama, Horticulture or Road Safety for half of the year and between Beauty Care, Art and Design or Journalism for the other half. Throughout the year students partake in many additional activities and courses including; the annual trip to the Delphi adventure centre, the Gaisce challenge, Outdoor Pursuits, and participation in the Public Access to Law programme. TY students also play an active part in the many extra curricular activities on offer in the school, including participation in the school musical, ‘West Wicklow Side Story’. In addition, the integration of Japanese students has been facilitated on the school’s TY programme over the past number of years through the Japanese Foundation for Intercultural Exchange and Cultural Homestay in Europe.

 

The TY curriculum is generally well balanced between core subjects, modules and calendar activities and events.  Time provision to subjects and modules is generally good. Timetabling of some subjects is in need of modification so that the current timetable more truly reflects the actual time allocation to subjects. Time allocation to some subjects and modules is eroded by, for example, travelling to planned activities. In order to streamline planning for time provision in TY, consideration should be given, as far as is feasible, to the further timetabling of planned activities in an effort to avoid disruption of lesson time.

 

 

3 Quality of learning and teaching

 

3.1               Planning and preparation for teaching

 

Lessons observed were well planned.  A written yearly plan was available for the vast majority of subjects evaluated. Where this was not the case, it is recommended that it be included in the TY written plan. Short term planning was also good with many teachers having weekly plans and in some cases lesson plans. In some ten week modules, teachers had already evaluated their first experience and delivery of the module, in advance of offering it to the next class group. This is very good practice and should be extended to other modules.

 

Handouts and worksheets had been prepared in advance of many lessons visited ICT delivered presentations and overhead transparencies were pre-prepared in some cases. Materials for practical activities were well organised and considerable advance preparation has taken place in advance of the lessons observed. Good preparation and planning led to a smooth delivery of lessons and enhanced the learning experience for students. This is highly commended.

 

3.2               Teaching and learning

 

A variety of subjects were observed during the course of the inspection:  Home Economics, Young Social Innovators, Technology, IT (ECDL), Mathematics, Road Safety, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental and Social Studies, and Drama. The majority of the lessons observed were delivered in subject relevant classrooms. This enhanced the learning experience for students and is commended.

 

There was a very good atmosphere for learning in all lessons visited. A sense of enjoyment and enthusiasm was created and student motivation was generally high. Students’ work and responses were frequently affirmed, they were valued and respected and generally responded very positively. Participation in lessons was generally good. However, student participation could improve in a small number of lessons observed and it is recommended that measures are put in place to encourage all students to participate more fully. Classroom management was generally good. However, in a small number of instances, where this was not the case, it is recommended that student seating arrangements be revisited.

 

Learning objectives were achieved in the vast majority of lessons observed. Student learning was active in many lessons. Practical activities, student assignments and lively discussions contributed to good and active learning practices.  There was an example where student learning was consolidated by preparation followed by presentation of their work to the whole class group. Some students found this assignment challenging but clearly learned many skills from the experience. This is an example of innovative learning practices in line with Transition Year Programmes, Guidelines for Schools.

 

Students carried out many practical tasks in the course of the evaluation. This gave students the opportunity to work collaboratively. Teachers circulated giving support and help to groups and individuals. This had the effect that all students could complete the task assigned. This is commended. Good health and safety practices were observed during practical activities observed. Specialist room notices reminded students of health and safety guidelines. Relevant safety equipment was in place. For example during a practical lesson students were reminded of best laboratory practice, they were presented with common hazard symbols and were later tested on their knowledge of the material presented. This is highly commended.

 

Students learned useful life skills during many lessons observed. These included cooking skills and road safety. Efforts had been made to address gender issues in relation to certain subjects, for example the Home Economics lesson consisted entirely of boys, while girls were encouraged to take up Engineering. Students had completed a one day training course on road safety and were evaluating the experience. The emphasis on life skills promotes the school’s TY mission and is in line with Department guidelines. This is highly commended.

 

Methodologies used were relevant and varied. Worksheets were distributed in most lessons and served as a means of focusing students’ attention on the material being investigated and discussed. It is recommended that this practice be extended across all appropriate lessons. The whiteboard and overhead projector were used effectively in most lessons and aided the teaching and learning of new concepts, key words and as means of summarising lesson content. However, in some lessons, the use of varied methodologies could have improved. It is therefore recommended that some lessons are planned more thoroughly and delivered more innovatively in line with TY guidelines. ICT was used very effectively in many lessons and commendable practice was observed in many cases. For example, students followed clear instructions to develop successfully a presentation during a computer lesson observed. A computer and data-projector were used in some lessons observed as an effective aid to teaching and learning. For example, slides of heritage sites focused students’ discussion during one lesson and slides of hazard symbols emphasised health and safety in another lesson. Data logging equipment was used by students in another lesson observed. Students were challenged to match graphs using a motion sensor and a handheld data logger. This task was completed successfully. The innovative use of ICT is highly commended. It is recommended that teachers further explore uses of available ICT resources in lessons.

 

There was very effective use of questioning in many lessons observed.  Sometimes students’ questions acted as a focus for discussion. Questions were used as an aid to recall and to instil interest and motivation into various topics being presented.

 

Students worked in small groups and discussed social issues as they prepared for a Young Social Innovators project. For example, gender inequality was discussed both in Ireland and the developing world. The current youth culture in Ireland was discussed in another group and how social responsibility can be improved. Plans to develop these ideas into projects were discussed among the groups. In this way, students learned about themselves as individuals, their attitudes and emotions and gained confidence in talking about these issues. This is highly commended as it fulfils the school’s TY mission of personal development and maturity.

 

3.3               Assessment

 

Assessment in TY at Coláiste Bhríde includes continuous assessment by teachers, setting and marking of assignments, timetabled examinations for some subjects in December and March and assessment of the student’s folder of achievement. Self-assessment is promoted through the folder of achievement, project and design work and through practical examination for example in First Aid.

 

Students are encouraged to develop a sense of pride in their work through the folder of achievement. Items in the folder include the contract of learning, a review of the students’ academic career to date including Junior Certificate results, a student log of their weekly events and activities and their identified highlight of the week. Students choose some of the best samples of their work and some enhance their folder with photographs of their enjoyable experiences. Some students include subject worksheets and samples of tests.  Evidence gathered during the course of the evaluation confirms that these folders are generally maintained to a very high standard. However, it is recommended that the planned student folder of achievement interview be implemented. This folder is assessed at the end of the year and is instrumental in awarding prizes and class certificates. Certificates are graded and presented at the levels of participation, merit and distinction. The school awards a perpetual trophy to the student who best embraces TY.

 

Reports are sent to parents following Christmas and summer examinations. These customised reports not only carry grades and comments but also information on participation and attainment. This is commended. Individual progress reports are sent as requested. There is an annual TY parent-teacher meeting and there is ongoing communication with parents by means of the student journal.

 

Each TY student is presented with a portfolio of certificates at the TY celebration in May. In addition special awards are made to individual students. TY students actively participate in this event with a presentation on the year’s activities. In addition drama and music form part of the evenings’ events. This support and encouragement for students is highly commended.

 

 

4 Programme evaluation and outcomes

 

4.1               Programme evaluation and review

 

Programme evaluation plays a strong part in TY. The school endeavours to involve the whole-school community in the evaluation. Students give feedback on a weekly basis during tutor class. In addition, students are given evaluation sheets. Senior management and the TY core team engage in ongoing evaluation of the programme as evidenced from the annual changes to the programme. Discussions with parents take place at school events and parent teacher meetings. Subject teachers and subject departments evaluate their programmes as was evidenced during some lessons observed. However, there is scope for further expansion of the evaluation process to include more input from the whole staff and parents. In addition, further evaluation instruments should be included in the TY planning documentation.

 

4.2 Attainment of programme objectives

 

Students reported that they would be capable of making a more informed choice for Leaving Certificate having completed TY. Some students stated that they would never have been exposed to some subjects and now are willing to consider these at senior cycle. They reported better relationships with teachers and a more relaxed and interesting mode of learning including self directed learning. This self directed learning is highly commended and in line with TY guidelines.

 

School management reported the main benefits of TY as developing a sense of confidence, responsibility and maturity in students. Skills development was also seen as an important outcome of TY. In addition a strong sense of community was developed in TY students which they carried forward to Leaving Certificate. The main constraints were seen as time for coordination of the programme and the geographical location of the school in that it takes a considerable time for students to get to events and activities at different locations.

 

TY programme objectives are fulfilled at Coláiste Bhríde. The broad TY curriculum ensures that students advance personally and socially together with acquiring additional academic skills. Student involvement in voluntary and community work enhances their social awareness. Their experience of adult and working life through work experience builds on student confidence and maturity.

 

 

5 Summary of strengths and recommendations for further development

 

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

 

 

 

As a means of building on these strengths the following key recommendations are made:

 

 

 

 

 

Published October 2008

 

 

 

 

Appendix

 

School Response to the Report

 

Submitted by the Board of Management

 

 

 

Area 1   Observations on the content of the inspection report    

 

We are very pleased with the commendable review of our Transition Year Programme and appreciate the observation that the current TY Yearbook aptly captures the school’s TY philosophy; “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

 

We found it very encouraging that it was evident to the Inspectorate that our whole school community, including parents, school management, teaching staff and students recognises the value of TY and how the programme fulfils the school’s mission of preparing “students for life and responsible citizenship and to motivate them towards the achievement of their full potential”.

 

We value the feedback from the Inspectorate and found WSE a positive experience. Being at the coal face of co-ordination we are very aware that our Transition Year Programme is never static but ever evolving in an attempt to enhance the educational, pastoral, social and emotional development of our students. We welcome suggestions and recommendations from the experts as we endeavour to reach academic excellence. We assure you that we have taken all recommendations on board and over time will address all in a constructive way which will take cognisance of own local needs. We are also mindful of maintaining a gender balance on our TY Core Group Team.

 

 

Area 2   Follow-up actions planned or undertaken since the completion of the inspection activity to implement the findings and recommendations of the inspection         

 

Section 1.5

“The school encourages active participation of gifted students in the Centre for Talented Youth in Ireland ( CYTI) at DCU”.

Response

Coláiste Bhride continues our commitment to meeting the needs of all of our students. In Jan ’08 15 of our 1st Year students participated in CTYI Talent Search. We anticipate that these students may be participants in our TY Programme in future years.

 

Section 2.2

TY Written Plans. “This written plan needs significant improvement”.

Response

At our September Core group meeting we have evaluated our current written plan and have begun to rewrite it with reference to the Department Guidelines and assistance from SLSS website. Our Staff Development Day in November is designated to WS revamp of TY Subject Plans to include teaching and learning strategies, resources, and links with other subjects, evaluation and assessment criteria.

 

Section 3.2

“Student participation could improve in a small number of lessons observed”.

Response

AFL has formed part of the SDP strategy for the past two years and it is intended to continue its establishment as an example of best practice in relation to learning and teaching in Coláiste Bhride. A staff training day will take place on 25th September.

 

Classroom management “student seating arrangements be revisited”. “The use of varied methodologies could have improved”

Response

These observations were discussed at our September TY teacher meeting and was accepted as examples of best practice in classroom management.

The school is conscious that there is always a need for evaluation and review in employing varied methodologies such as group work or open ended questioning to enhance teaching and learning.

 

Young Social Innovators Project “Students learned about themselves as individuals, their attitudes and emotions and gained confidence in talking about these issues”

Response

We are very pleased that the inspectorate acknowledged the fact that this programme fulfils the school’s TY mission of personal development and maturity. This year we continue to value the YSI programme in having two YSI class groups. Our YSI teachers will attend in service training on Sat Sept 20th.

 

Section 4.1

“Evaluation instruments should be included in the TY planning documentation”

Response

The TY core team intend to include such instruments in our revised written plan.

 

Section 4.2

“The main constraints were seen as time for co-ordination of the programme”.

Response

In section 2.1 we are very pleased to acknowledge the complimentary observation about “the commitment and dedication to co-ordination”. We welcome the fact that our TY co-ordinator is now an Assistant Principal.

 

Section 5

Key recommendations “Consideration should be given to pursuing further development of TY through in-service” 

Response

Our teachers and TY Co-ordinators will endeavour to keep a balance between subject in-service, Leaving Cert Applied in-service, Young Social Innovators Workshops and TY in-service.

 

Key recommendations “having students present at Parent Teacher meetings”

Response

Our Core Group suggests that we discuss this at our next staff meeting.

     

To date we have not reached on the recommendations regarding making a list of TY resources, interviewing students regarding their Folder of Achievements or reviewing our TY Work Experience Programme with our Career Guidance Dept. We are also mindful that we need to consult with management regarding the erosion of time allocation to subjects due to activities and that our current timetable truly reflects the actual time allocated to subjects.

 

We have concerns regarding the time constraints which would be involved in the interviewing of all students regarding their Folder of Achievements considering the time involved in the screening of students for the TY Programme this year involved more than 10hrs, despite facilitating group interviews.

 

The other concerns would be the further erosion of class contact time should we increase the work experience module.

 

However, we would welcome advice and guidance as to how best to address these issues as we are committed to making our Transition Year Programme the best that it can be in ensuring the holistic development of our students and helping them become autonomous learners.

 

 

We would like to thank the Inspectorate for their assistance in helping us to move our TY Programme forward in a never ending quest for excellence.

 

 

TY Core Group September 2008