FAQs - 4th Year or TY

4th year or Transition Year (TY)

If you are reading this, your daughter is probably just getting ready for the Junior Certificate Exam.  She won’t need any extra distractions but you can have next year on your radar!

The Transition Year Programme in Santa Sabina is an exciting and rewarding compulsory year between Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate   It is a year when the students will get to know each other better and learn new skills while they each complete a varied portfolio.  They will be awarded a school certificate at the end of year TY Certification ceremony.

There is an information evening for parents and daughters at the start of fourth year. The TY Programme Co-ordinator, will talk about what is involved in the programme and give the students their information pack.  The students will also have an Induction Day at the beginning of the school year which explains the day to day practicalities of being a Transition Year student.

Base class groupings change in Transition Year allowing the students to get to know in each other better.

Some highlights to watch out for:

The students’ focus at the beginning of the year will be on their Junior Certificate results. But the year will go very quickly.  The TY Programme Co-ordinator will keep the students up to date at assembly every week about activities in which they can get involved. Encourage your daughter to try everything, even if it really isn’t within her comfort zone! 

Community Outreach and Work Experience:

The school sets aside specific weeks for Community Outreach and Work Experience placements.  You will be given the dates for these placements towards the end of 3rd year. The students are expected to source and organise their own placements.

It is never too early to start sourcing these placements.  This is a great opportunity for your daughter to get a taste of what it might be like to work in a particular field that she might be interested in as a career later on.   There are many companies that accept TY students but personal contacts can be invaluable.  The assigned week of Community Outreach is in December and the two weeks of work experience are in February, just before mid-term. 

What is the Gaisce award and how does my daughter sign up for it?

Gaisce is the President’s award for young people rewarding the development of the person through the achievement of personal challenges.  See for details.

In Transition Year the students can sign up for the first level of the Gasice award which is the Bronze award.  This award takes a minimum of 25 weeks to complete. The TY co-ordinator facilitates the students in signing up for this award. Details are distributed at the beginning of the year.

Trips and Activities:

Any costs for these will be advised beforehand.  There is a fun element to the Transition Year Programme which includes a 3 day trip to Achill Outdoor Centre in October.  All the students must attend this trip.  The trip is full board and while the students bring plenty of snacks and their own sleeping bags, they are given a hot meal and tents for the night they spend camping. They stay in a hostel on the other night.  A list will be provided to the students informing them of what to bring.  They will be trekking through a bog so suitable footwear should be brought.  Keep your daughter’s old clothes as they will be handy for the trip.  Any student doing the Gaisce Bronze award will use this time to complete her ‘venture’ activity.

There is an optional foreign trip for the students in fourth year. The destination is announced by Mr Campbell each year.

The students also have some day trips that they can go on, such as an Art Trip, Judo Trip and Science Trip to name just a few.

Throughout the year there is a variety of guest speakers invited to talk to the students about career opportunities in various fields.

Does my daughter need a new uniform for fourth year?

Yes. The green skirt is replaced with the school kilt.  Remember that the kilt requires a pin, so keep it safe when washing! Students are expected to wear full uniform each day.

Will my daughter need new books for Transition Year?

Yes, a booklist will be posted on the school website in mid-June.  New books are required for core subjects and some other books as advised on the booklist.  

Do the base class groupings change in Transition Year?

Yes.  One of the benefits of TY is the chance for the girls to mix more within their peer group.  Classes are regrouped and this can assist the students to make and maintain friendships and associations.

Will assembly day change in TY?

Probably.  Assembly is very important in fourth year as this is where new opportunities and activities are first discussed. Third and fourth years have assembly together.  The day on which their assembly is held may change from third year, depending on the availability of the year head teachers.  The students will be informed of their assembly day on their first week back to school.  Remember that students must be in school by 8.30am on their assembly day.

What subjects will my daughter study in Transition Year?

Core subjects:

All students will study Irish, English, Mathematics and continue their Foreign Language.  It is important to remember that standards from the Junior Certificate are expected to be maintained in order to study at higher level for the Leaving Certificate.

Optional subjects:

In Transition Year students have the opportunity to sample other Option Subjects during the year.  Students study Accounting, Business, Economics (as part of Enterprise), Geography and History (as part of Environmental and Social Studies), Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Home Economics Social and Scientific, Music and Art. (Students will go on to choose three of these subjects for their Leaving Certificate.)

PE, SPHE and Religion classes all continue throughout Transition Year.

TY specific modules:

During TY, students will also get a chance to try out interesting modules which may include  Drama, Driving, Egyptian Studies, Photography, Enterprise and Environmental and Social Studies.

The curriculum in Transition Year is subject to change.

How will my daughter be helped to choose her Leaving Certificate subjects?

The school sets aside a subject options seminar day for the students.  At this seminar all of the subject options are described in detail.  The school careers guidance classes from Christmas specifically explore senior cycle subjects.  This will make it easier for the students to choose their leaving certificate subjects.

The following websites might be helpful and

When will the students choose their Leaving Certificate Subjects?

See the Subject options and levels policy, click here.

When will my daughter find out if her subject choice is available?

See the Subject options and level policy, click here.

Does Transition Year finish earlier than other years?

This can change but Transition Year usually finishes a week earlier than the remainder of school year with a certification ceremony.  Parents are invited to this ceremony which takes place after school on Friday afternoon of the day on which TY ends.


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