Preparing for second level

General aims of these sessions:

Understand the significance of second level in the Irish school system Become familiar with choices of schools available locally and how to apply Learn how second level education works Explore significant adjustments for both parent and child Learn ways to support children and reduce stress associated with transition from primary to second level

Topic Content
1. An overview of the second level education system Explaining what is second level in the context of the Irish education system. Discussing different types of schools available locally, and how to apply. Exploring subject options and choices and the significance of choices on further study and career options.
2. Big fish, little fish – what is different? Highlighting what children will experience in moving to second level. Discussing personal experiences (if relevant, some parents may not have attended second level). Reviewing recent positive changes.
3. Understanding the curriculum and typical timetable Comparing primary and second level timetables. Samples locally from schools. Identifying differences and implications.
4. Supporting your child’s learning at second level Exploring parents’ learning styles, and giving tips to support learning. Parents can observe and support different learning styles in their children.
5. Helping with homework strategies Sharing research with parents that shows how parental interest and support helps to increase children’s achievement in learning. Identifying strategies to help parents show interest and support even when they aren’t familiar with a subject area.

 

Websites
www.education.ie

 

Topic 1: Overview of Irish education system

Materials:

Large copy of Irish education system
Application forms for various schools
Handout copy of Irish system for parents
Guides for moving to second level
List of subject areas and choices
Various text books for second level
Laminated A3 sheet for each second level subject

Task Suggested Activities
Where second level fits into overall Irish education system Use large chart to show where children are in the greater education system in Ireland. Give each parent a copy. Explore how children can progress. Invite parents to share their experiences of school.
Favourite subjects Hang A3 laminated subject sheets around the room. Ask parents to stand next to a subject area they enjoyed at school (read out subjects to assist literacy skills, if needed). Ask volunteers to say why they liked this subject, e.g., liked the teacher, liked the activities, stimulated imagination, etc. Discuss being positive about all subjects, so children feel free to make their own decisions. Ask what subjects they think their children like most.
Discuss different second level schools locally and how to apply Ask parents to list the schools they know locally and what they know about them, e.g., sporty school, all girls school, etc. Look at application forms for each school and point out the information required from parents.
Subjects and options Explain the difference between core subjects, choice and optional subjects. List core subjects, choice and optional subjects available in each school (usually on school website). Discuss implications for choices on children, e.g., not doing a European language.
Supports at each school List supports available in each school. Discuss how these can support children.
Sample Junior Certificate textbooks Display a sample of Junior Certificate textbooks. Invite parents to look at them. Compare them to the books in a typical 6th class. Discuss levels of ability and knowledge required. Explain new subjects.

 

Literacy Links:

Understanding key vocabulary
Finding information on a chart
Filling in application forms
Asking questions
Providing information
Reading short texts

Numeracy Links:

Following the layout of a chart
Filling in forms
Reading dates
Managing time, e.g., meeting deadlines for completed application forms