Alternative Suspension

Based on a YMCA Canadian model, the programme aims to reduce the number of repeat suspensions by giving students the opportunity to transform their time away from school into a positive experience that fosters personal development and autonomy.


The curriculum consists of schoolwork, individual assistance, educational workshops, and complimentary group activities.

The time away from school is designed to confront a range of issues that referred students may be experiencing.

Students are referred from a number of partner schools across Dublin 2, 6W, 8, 9 & 12.


Alternative Suspension Objectives


What are some of the reasons students may be referred to the programme for?
AS is a programme that is not just for students who have been suspended. We also want to work with Students at an earlier stage. If you have a student that is in need of some time away from the school environment but they are able to continue their schoolwork and participate in workshops you can refer them to AS.
How long is the Alternative Suspension Programme?
We have students on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays from 9.30am. We are open to having students longer and we have begun to incorporate additional support for students who have completed their participations. 

While students are with us, we ask what support from us could help them over a longer period of time.  We discuss this with the school, parents and student and if everyone is in agreement, the student can come to AS 1 day a week for a period of 4-6 weeks. They have signed an agreement plan to continue to work on what they have written in the plan. This has been a really important step for us as it means we are integrated into their school week and we can continue the work that we did in the 3 days but more consistently over time. 

What does the day look like?

What does the day look like?
The programme will run from 9.30am – 2.00pm
Arrival time is 9.30am.

9.30am – Arrive at the Y

9.30am – 9.40am: Intro to the days topic and fill in their Student Aims form

9.40am – 10.40am – School Work Pt 1.

10.40am – 11.00am – Break/Game

11.00am – 11.30am – Workshop/Discussion Pt. 1

11.30am – 12.15pm – Break (sports hall & lunch)

12.15pm – 1.15pm – School Work Pt. 2

1.15pm – 2.00pm – Workshop Pt. 3 incl. Reflection *

2.00pm – Finish


– Students do not need to wear their uniform.

– They do need to bring their school bag with books and a pen. If they use Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams and have a laptop, they can bring that with them also. If they don’t have a laptop and need one, we have one they can use.

– Any work that is done on paper will be given to the school at the reintegration meeting.

– A student can use headphones and listen to music while they do their work.

– We ask that students bring lunch with them but if they need lunch to let us know and we can provide it.

What is individual assistance and will every participant have that?

The AS team aims to provide individual assistance to every participant who is referred to the programme and this looks different to every young person. Some may need help with schoolwork while others are happy to do it themselves. Throughout the day participants will have time to chat with one the team about how they are doing and this can often come up when we are helping them with schoolwork. This is why we use worksheets (aims form, helicopter view of their life and how they learn) as it opens up conversation from the beginning of the participation.

What workshops/group discussions will be facilitated?

We want to make sure that the workshops are on topics and are relevant to the participants. This is why the referral form and the individual sessions are so important as it gives us an idea of the issues that are coming up for the participants. There are workshops on conflict management, respect, responsibility, compromising and even some workshops where they have to work as a team. We also want to work with participants on finding out their strengths, what they value and understand what could help them when they return to school.

What happens after a young person finishes in the programme?
When a young person completes their time in the programme a reintegration meeting will happen the following day with the school and any other support the young person has.

During this meeting I go through the AS report that is compiled over the course of the 3 days the students have been with us. With the school, we talk about what could be helpful for the student moving forward. I will also talk about the possibility of the student coming back for 1 day a week over a series of weeks.

Can a young person be referred to the Alternative Suspension Programme more than once?
Yes. We want to provide a service that supports young people who need to step away from the school community. A young person may be referred to us more than once for different reasons.
How do I refer a student to AS?
Firstly, thank you for engaging in this programme and wanting to refer a student.

Secondly, let’s have a chat! Don’t hesitate to give me (Susie) a call, or drop me an email and ask as many questions as you need to.

Thirdly, I will send you 2 forms; 1 is the referral form you, the school will fill out and the other is a parental consent form, which asks the parent for consent to allow the school to give information to us about their child, as well as a few other points of information that is needed.

Once both forms have been completed, a photo or a scan of both forms can be sent to my email address and I will then make contact with the parent and talk them through the programme and any questions they may have.

Lastly, in order for the student to be up to date with school work, we need the assigned school work before they start and what, if any, programme they may be using; Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams. Work can be sent to me by email and I can print it out.

We are now taking referrals

Please contact Susie, our programme coordinator at

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