Education is a powerful tool (UNESCO, 2014)
iScoil is an online learning community that offers an alternative path to learning, accreditation and progression.
We work to provide a safe environment where young people can re-engage with education, achieve recognised certification and access further education, training and employment opportunities. On iScoil each student is unique and the programme is tailored to his or her individual needs.
The iScoil model is based on principles of inclusivity, equality and adopts a non-judgmental approach. It is strongly learner-centred and involves personalised learning plans based on the student’s needs and interests. We encourage our students to actively influence their own learning pace by open communication with our online tutors and mentors.
Our Mission is to provide an inclusive solution to address educational disadvantage and ensure that young people have access to the opportunity to learn, achieve and progress in their lives.
Our Vision is a quality and innovative model of education that expands access to learning, respects the dignity of each young person and supports early school leavers to fulfil their potential.
At iScoil we aim to:
- Engage young people in learning
- Nurture individual talents and personal development
- Build confidence and self-esteem
- Provide accreditation opportunities
- Support progression to further education and employment
How We Work
We work supportively with young people at their own pace by assessing the unique needs of each student.
The majority of our referrals are made by TUSLA Education Welfare Officers for early school leavers aged between 13-16 years. Each referral is reviewed carefully to ensure that iScoil is in the best interests of the young person referred.
2. Getting Started
When accepted each student receives an iScoil pack that provides all information required to log in to our system. Once online students start with some basic learning activities and exercises designed to allow us assess learning styles and interests. Students are assigned an individual online mentor and introduced to our online subject tutors who are always available to contact and provide help and support.
3. Personal Learning Plan
We build a personalised learning plan on our system that is designed to bring out the best of the student’s abilities and be reflective of their interests. Each day the student completes work from this learning plan and online tutors and mentors review the work, provide feedback and adapt the next day’s learning plan as required.
Alongside their mentor, the students can seek help from our online tutors who design subject courses and assess work folders. Our central team who have years of experience in guiding students through unique paths to learning are always available to contact online and by phone.
5. Achieving Certificates
As students complete the tasks in their learning plan, they are working towards various learning outcomes. These outcomes eventually build into fully completed subjects and evidence of work is put together in a learning folder for final assessment. Students can complete a QQI Level 3 Certificate in General Learning (equivalent to Junior Certificate).
When students are ready to move on from iScoil, we use what we have learned about their skills and interests to help them on to the next stage in their learning journey. Some of our students have chosen to return to school and others have progressed to further education or training courses and employment.
The iScoil Experience
iScoil has successfully created a welcoming and safe environment for our learners by providing each young person with an individual learning programme that they can access from a location that best suits their circumstance. We have a dedicated team of qualified professionals who use a range of technologies and approaches to personalise content, instruction and feedback. The use of digital technology allows learners to engage with our accredited online programme and to achieve their learning outcomes at their own pace from wherever they are located. We carefully monitor the progress of each individual. This is based on online interaction together with direct communication and feedback with young people, parents and centre support workers.
iScoil is flexible and adaptable and young people can access the programme from home or from a local blended centre. Wherever students choose to learn they receive the same individualised support and personal learning programme. Our Learning Service combines relevant content with supportive instruction and mentoring to bring each student through a learning process that results in accredited learning assessed through our unique e-portfolio approach.
We are available to provide advice and further information on what works best in different contexts and work closely with TUSLA on establishing the best location of learning for each young person. Our first blended centre was set up in 2010 and we have a number of years experience on good practice and set-up of our learning service in partnership with local services. We provide advice, support and guidelines on partnership in blended learning and how to work together to maintain a quality standard of learning provision for young people. Click here for information on setting up a blended centre.
We offer young people the chance to earn QQI Level 3 certification, which is the equivalent to the Junior Certificate on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Our communications course offers students the chance to improve their skills in various important areas such as reading texts, writing for different audiences and verbal communications. A strength of this topic is that students can easily focus on their own interests for much of the work they complete.
This course is designed to give the student a basic mathematical understanding of various topics like measurement & capacity, problem solving and algebra. As much as possible we try to provide practical applications in which to use this knowledge in a real world setting.
This course offers students opportunities to explore a range of social issues, to reflect on the nature of interpersonal relationships and to gain an understanding of the personal and social factors that influence their own lives. It also encourages the students to reflect on their own attitudes and lives.
The computer literacy course gives the student a thorough understanding of basic terminology associated with information and communications technology. It covers the practical side of how to set up a computer, health and safety issues and the concept of environmental issues relating to ICT.
This course is an integral part of helping our learners that are interested in securing employment. We help them make informed judgments about work, training and educational opportunities, and gain practice in a range of skills needed to prepare for employment, such as CV and interview preparation.
Our digital media course helps bring out the creative side of our students by requiring them to create movies, take photographs and design posters. They’ll also learn a lot about the rise of social networking, issues surrounding copyright laws, digital communications and computer games.
This course equips the student with the knowledge, skills and competencies to meet the personal and social demands of their everyday environments. It involves a group project where students work as part of a team towards a common goal. These projects have taken the form of baking cakes, going on fishing trips and organising coffee mornings amongst many other things.
iScoil is a QQI registered provider and we offer accreditation within the NFQ framework of qualifications.
iScoil learners can achieve QQI Level 3 accreditation in the subjects listed to the left. To complete the Certificate in General Learning (3M0874) students need to complete four core modules plus two other modules. Subject courses can be worked on in any order and students will be awarded accreditation for each subject completed.
Typical course content includes instructional and directional material provided to equip learners with knowledge, skills and competence in the subject area.
Our mission is to provide education to any young person in Ireland who needs it regardless of circumstance. Our plan is to scale our programme and expand our reach. You could view our strategic statement in the Publications section below.
We have awarded
Location of iScoil Students
In 2015 we had a total of 56 students, 30 of which were based in their homes and 26 of which were in blended learning centres. The county location of the students is as follows:
Awards achieved by students in 2015/2016
One way of measuring the effectiveness of our work is looking at our levels of accreditation. In the academic year 2015/16, 84% of our students were awarded a QQI Level 3 Certificate.
- QQI Level 3 52%
- Major Award in General Learning 32%
- Further Education 36%
- School 20%
- Youthreach 17%
- TBC 17%
- Employment 10%
- Number of students: 30
Where our students progress to
Our goal is to engage students in learning ultimately with a view to moving them on successfully to other learning, training and employment opportunities. iScoil is very involved in helping our students to find their next step in education or the workplace. So far we know that 83% of young people who have moved on in 2015/16 have secured a place in school, Youthreach, further education or employment. We’re still supporting some young people to find that right move and take the next step in their learning journey.
"I get much more contact from iScoil than I would from a school."− Parent
"iScoil is getting me back into seeing education as an interesting and useful thing instead of something to hate and avoid."− Student
"Without iScoil some of our young people would not attend any sort of formal education, it has provided an opportunity and support at a crucial time in their lives."− Blended Centre Manager
"iScoil gave my daughter the time and space to develop her talents in a friendly and safe environment."− Parent
"The best thing about iScoil was knowing that your mentor was always looking out for you."− Student
"We have found iScoil to be an invaluable service to offer."− Blended Centre Manager
Please feel free to view our reports and publications below:
We provide a safe and secure learning platform that always has an iScoil staff member online.
Read the iScoil child protection policy statement.
iScoil values and encourages the participation of children in a safe online learning environment. We are committed to safeguarding the dignity and rights of children. The welfare and safety of children in both the online and offline environments are paramount in the work of iScoil, regardless of all other considerations.
Students can log on to our secure learning platform between the hours of 9AM and 5PM Monday to Friday. During those hours, there is always an iScoil staff member available online for the student to contact.
Our central team is always available to contact for any questions you may have.
The people who have turned iScoil from a dream into a reality.
- Marianne Checkley – CEO
- Anne Fitzpatrick – Administrator
- Brian Fitzsimons – Programme Manager
- Stephen Leonard – Learning Technologist
Tutors and Mentors
- Julie Bancroft – Tutor (Communications)
- Anne Maree Barry – Tutor (Digital Media)
- Marie Loftus – Tutor (Maths/Computers)
- Leanne Young – Tutor (Careers)
- Joanne Anglim – Mentor/Tutor (Personal & Interpersonal Skills)
- Linda Sullivan – Mentor/Tutor (Personal Effectiveness)
- Sean Keville – Mentor
- Karen Kelly – Mentor
- Sinead Merrigan – Mentor
- Michael Doyle – Chairperson
- Dr Peter Archer – Director of Educational Research Centre
- Dr Yvonne Crotty – School of Education Studies, Dublin City University
- Dr Dympna Glendenning – Senior Counsel and Educationalist
- Dr Michael Hallissy – H2 Learning
- Joan O’Reilly – Presentation Sisters
- John O’Riordan – School Principal (retired), Certified Accountant
- Grace McKernan – Presentation Sisters
- AnnMarie Quinn – Presentation Sisters
Online Referral Form
iScoil welcomes a range of young people who are out of mainstream education.
Referrals usually come through Tusla’s Education Welfare Service. Parents should contact their local Education Welfare Officer. For more information visit Tusla’s website.