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Letter to Transition Year parents/guardians April 2021

We are really delighted to have our Transition Year students back in the building with us over the past two weeks, they bring their energy and vitality to the college, and I am so pleased that they will get to spend the final few weeks of their year amongst their classmates and friends. For all of us the year has not gone according to script, and I am busy trying to put in place some activities to allow for an enjoyable conclusion to their year.

Since January I have worked to ensure a wide variety of activities were offered to the students on a weekly basis to complement their busy schedule of online classes. The Dulann activities they were offered included a full suite of online work-related activities which took 30 hours to complete which replaced the Work Experience for the students by giving them insights into areas connected with the world of work. All the work completed on this is certifiable and will be especially useful to the students as they look for part-time work in the future. Online lectures on topics such as Reptiles, Breast Cancer Awareness and an informative lecture on the DSPCA were also provided. The school also took part in the Law Library Transition Year programme and students were also offered an exciting opportunity to take part in a Work Experience with the tech company STRIPE.

Some students are currently taking part in a soccer coaching programme and others took part in the Engineering Programme STEPS. There was an online workshop with School of Life which gave very practical life skills to all, and other students were offered places in the theatre workshops with Tenderfoot, the theatre company based in The Civic Theatre, Tallaght. Tallaght Hospital also offered engagement with lectures on careers in the medical and nursing fields and some other students were lucky to be involved with the College of Surgeons Mini-med workshops. In January, students attended the online forum called Healthfest which looked at nutrition, mindfulness and fitness and injury awareness. Some of our students got involved in the Youth Parliament and others are taking part in a Concern symposium over the coming days. As you can see there was a vast range of activity on offer to the students and they will have the opportunity to reflect on their engagement in the coming weeks.

Well done to so many students who did not allow their disappointment that the year did not go to plan to hamper their experience and who took part in so many events and activities. It is this willingness to
engage despite their disappointment that will stand to them in the years ahead. I would also like to pay special tribute to the manner so many students communicated with me over the past few months. As teachers we enjoy the real communications, we have with young people, but this was upended by having to communicate via email and the TEAMS platform and so many really highlighted their courtesy and good manners in this regard. Their attitudes and demeanor will be an asset into the future.

Many of the activities listed above came at a cost and while it may appear that there was no financial outlay it is not the case. Traditionally there is a €400 cost for Transition Year, and this would cover all activities as well as an overnight two-day trip to an activity centre and many trips involving entry fees and transport costs. With that considered it has been decided to cap the cost for this year at €200 as was outlined at the start of the year. Many thanks to those who have already paid the fee and to those who have paid the original fee of €400 we will arrange a refund of the €200. Might I ask those of you who have fees outstanding to finalise payment in the next few weeks.

The schedule for the next few weeks in school will be busy for your children with projects to complete and an interview to prepare for. Next Tuesday all the students are taking part in a Maths talk here in school and on Thursday our Global Citizenship students will be involved in a national event all day here in the college. On Friday 30th April the classes will take part in a fun outdoors activity TeamWorks fully compliant with current health regulations, they will take part in their base class groups, and they will only attend school for their scheduled two hours. I am praying for fine weather. I would recommend that any project work or filling in of the reflective section of their journal be completed during the other part of the day.

On Wednesday 5th May I have registered all students for an event hosted by the Business group IBEC, students will link into this event from home on that day to ensure access and a flexibility surrounding times and talks. On Friday 14th they will take part in a Forensics event in school, they will have classes as normal and attend from their classes. They will all have annual TY Interview on Monday 17th May to reflect on the year and hopefully realise that they did take part in many activities despite the circumstances and that there was a potential for learning and maturing through it all. Students will remain at home that day and will join their interview online at a scheduled time with their Tutor and another teacher. Full uniform must be worn, and students are already aware of the requirements and the possible questions & cameras must be turned on.

Unfortunately, we cannot welcome you all to a Graduation ceremony in the college, but I am planning an End of Year event for the students on the morning of Tuesday 25th May to recognise their endeavors over the year both here in school and online through the lockdown period. I know that will be important for them to have their efforts acknowledged by us. I will post footage for you all to view online after the event. They will finish school for the holidays on that date.
I look forward to the coming weeks working with the students,

Imelda Higgins
Programme Coordinator