iScoil - Continue to Learn
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.
At iScoil we aim to:
- Engage young people in learning.
- Build confidence and self-esteem.
- Offer accreditation opportunities.
- Support progression to further education and employment.
Our vision is based on each young person realising his or her right to education. We understand early school leaving as a complex issue often occurring when a range of circumstances combine and we see this reflected in the profile of our students each year. We strive to provide educational opportunities to young people who want to learn and achieve.
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).
After finishing up with iScoil, we use what we have learned about the student’s skills and interests to help them on to the next step in their learning journey. Progression routes for our students can include a return to school. Other examples include Youthreach, PLC courses, FÁS or employment.
The iScoil Experience
Typically our students will log in once a day from their home at a time that suits them. They are free to work on their tasks in whatever order they wish. The student can work quickly through something they find easy and then slow down for a difficult part. As well as providing students with the opportunity to work on iScoil from home, we also work with groups of students who access iScoil from blended centres. The students at these blended centres get the same individualised online experience as at home students but have the added support of other young people and the staff at their centre. Click here for information on setting up a blended centre.
iScoil is providing a real alternative to many young people, between the age of 13 and 16, to reconnect with learning. True to its online nature, iScoil is flexible and adaptable and young people can access the programme from home or from a local 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 process of continuous portfolio assessment that results in accredited learning.
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. We have a number of years experience on good practice and set-up of our learning service in partnership with local services and can provide guidelines for the level of support required and how we work together with centres to maintain a quality standard.
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.
we have given out
- School Refusal 27%
- Anxiety 25%
- Behavioural Difficulties 23%
- Disaffection 16%
- Illness/Other 9%
- Number of students: 56
Reasons why students were referred to us in 2014
iScoil takes young people on as students for a large variety of reasons. Because of this, we are very experienced in adapting to suit a young person’s needs and developing an individualised path to learning for them. In our experience, there are often many overlapping reasons for referral that simplify what is a complex reality. For example, a young person might refuse to go to school because of bullying or because they’re experiencing learning difficulties related to the nature of the school system.
Awards achieved by students in 2014
One way of measuring the effectiveness of our work is looking at our levels of accreditation. In the 2014 year, 93% of our students got a certificate for either completing a QQI module or completing a specific learning outcome. Our students like receiving their certs because they visually show evidence of an achievement. Ultimately we build towards supporting students in obtaining a QQI Level 3 Certificate in General Learning, which is the equivalent of the Junior Cert and achieved after a student completes 6 of our modules.
- 1-3 QQI Certs 52%
- Certificate of Achievement 32%
- 4-6 QQI Certs 9%
- None 7%
- Number of students: 56
- Youthreach 32%
- Solas 32%
- School 21%
- Other/Unknown 12%
- Employment 3%
- Number of students: 33
Where our students progressed to in 2014?
One of our goals is to engage students in learning with a view to moving them onto other learning, training and employment opportunities. With that in mind, a valid method of measuring our success is by looking at the progression routes of our students that have finished with us. iScoil is highly involved in helping our students that are moving on find the next step in education or employment. In 2014, 88% of our students who were progressing from iScoil either got a place with Youthreach or SOLAS, returned to school or obtained employment.
"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 – Education Coordinator
- Stephen Leonard – Learning Technologist
- Leanne Young – Mentor/Tutor (Careers/Personal Effectiveness)
Remote Tutors and Mentors
- Joanne Anglim – Mentor/Tutor (Personal & Interpersonal Skills)
- Julie Bancroft – Tutor (Communications)
- Anne Maree Barry – Tutor (Digital Media)
- Marie Loftus – Tutor (Maths/Computers)
- Sean Keville – Mentor
- Karen Kelly – Mentor
- Michael Doyle – Chairperson
- Dr Peter Archer – Director of Educational Research Centre
- Dr Yvonne Crotty – School of Education Studies, Dublin City University
- Dr Michael Hallissy – H2 Learning
- Grace McKernan – Presentation Sisters
- Jim McVeigh – Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education Training Board
- Joan O’Reilly – Presentation Sisters
- AnnMarie Quinn – Presentation Sisters
Online Referral Form
Places for the academic year 2015/16 have been filled. The next referral panel meeting will take place in July 2016 for student intake in September 2016. The closing date for submissions for this panel is the 20th of July.
iScoil welcomes a range of young people who are out of mainstream education. Acceptance is based on the following criteria and what is in the best interest of the young person:
- They are between the ages of 13 -16 yrs.
- They are out of mainstream education for a minimum of 6 months.
- Other interventions have not worked.
- They have not completed the Junior Certificate.
Referrals usually come through Tusla’s Education Welfare Service. Parents should contact their local Education Welfare Officer. For more information visit Tusla’s website.