Centre for the Talented Youth of Ireland

Centre for the Talented Youth of Ireland
Formation 1992
Headquarters Dublin City University
  • Ireland
Key people
Dr. Colm O'Reilly, Eleanor Cooke, Catriona Fitzgerald
Website CTYI

The Centre for the Talented Youth of Ireland (CTYI) is a youth programme for students between the ages of six and seventeen of high academic ability in Ireland.[1]

There are sibling projects around the world, most notably the CTY programme at Johns Hopkins University, the original model for CTYI. CTY students are eligible to participate in CTYI's summer sessions for older students. CTYI was founded in 1992 and is based at Dublin City University in Glasnevin, Dublin 9. Dr. Colm O'Reilly has been its director since 2005. The centre offers various courses for gifted students as well as conducting research and promoting the needs of the talented in Ireland.

Saturday Courses

Saturday courses are offered at various colleges and institutes of technology around Ireland throughout the year. There are courses for both the 6–7 age group and the 8–13 group. DCU also run classes on Wednesday afternoons.

Summer Courses

Summer courses are available for 6-7-year-olds and 8-13-year-olds (one-week sessions) at DCU and at other colleges and institutes of technology around Ireland. These students normally study two related subjects in either the morning or the afternoon session.

The summer programme for older students (12-17-year-olds) runs only at DCU. These courses give students the opportunity to study college-style and college levelled courses in subjects that are not otherwise available to them in the education system, such as Biotechnology, and War and Conflict Studies. Two sessions of three weeks each run each summer, usually from mid-June until the end of July or early August. With current financial situation, fewer people have been able to afford the steep cost of the programme, especially since the Government cut CTYI's funding in 2009. Because of this, students can now attend both sessions of the course, and the age bracket has been increased to include up to age seventeen.

Some of the students at the summer programme come from overseas, mostly from the United States and Continental countries such as France. Owing to the intensive nature of the programme, most of the 190–250 students who attend each session are residential, living in college accommodation for the duration of the course.

Weekdays in the summer programme are highly structured. Classes run from 9am to 3pm, with an hour's break for lunch. Activities take place from 3.15pm to 5pm, supervised by the residential assistants (RAs). Between 5pm and 6:30pm students have dinner and are required to attend a meeting with their RA group. 6:30pm to 8:30pm is taken up by the study period, which is supervised by the teaching assistant. Social time takes place between 8:30pm and 10pm, with lights-out at 10.30pm. On weekends, social activities such as discos, shopping trips, visits to the cinema, excursions to various interesting sights in Ireland, talent shows, mock casino nights and so on are organised.

Students on the older students programme study one subject intensively over three weeks. The courses on offer tend to cover material that is at first-year university level or its equivalent, and involve subjects not taught (or widely taught) for the Leaving Certificate. The subjects offered vary slightly each year.

In 2012, the following courses were offered: 21st Century Technology Skills, Behavioural Psychology, Biotechnology, Business & Innovation, Computers & Animation, Computer Gaming, Criminology, Cutting Edge Science, Cyber Psychology, Economics & Politics, Engineering, Game Theory, Heritage Studies, Japanese, Journalism, Law, Maths Experience, Medicine, Multimedia with Photography, Novel Writing, Philosophy, Social Psychology, Veterinary Science and War & Conflict Studies.

Correspondence Courses

The centre runs correspondence courses throughout the year for 12- to 16-year-olds and also for Transition Year students who do not have to fulfil any aptitude test requirements. Courses include or have included Writing By Mail, Journalism, Psychology, Philosophy, Legal Studies, and Science of Tomorrow. There are also correspondence courses for younger students (8–13) in computing-related subjects and Writing By Mail.

Discovery Days

These are once-off days at DCU, usually Saturdays, which feature a lecture or series of lectures on a particular topic of interest, e.g. "The Science behind Superheroes", "Journalism Day".

Early Entrance

This course is aimed at 4th year students. Students attend the DCU campus for one day a week and cover two modules that 1st year college students in DCU would be studying. Students have lectures, are required to submit assignments and sit exams at the end of this 15 week course.

Other Courses

The centre also administrates and runs the Centre for Academic Talent and the Summer Scholars programme at DCU. As with CTYI courses these are aimed at primary and secondary school students but have different entry requirements and a slightly different focus.

Permanent staff

Dr. Colm O'Reilly – Director

Colm is the highest-ranking staff member at CTYI. He served as Acting Director of CTYI after Dr. Sheila Gilheaney retired in 2004 before being appointed Director in 2005. He is ultimately responsible for everything that happens at CTYI and students may be sent home at his discretion for serious misbehaviour as set out in the rules given upon arrival. Before becoming director he was assistant director and originally worked with the Centre as a Residential Assistant on the summer programme. He is renowned for his ability to treat each student in a way that is best suited to their needs and knows the name of practically every child on the course.

Eleanor Healion – Academic Coordinator

Eleanor is responsible for the academic parts of the course. She has been around for many years in various roles. In 2004 when Colm became director of CTYI and the assistant director role was removed she was given the job of academic coordinator.

Catriona Fitzgerald – Academic Coordinator/Residential Coordinator

During the school year Catriona is the other Academic Coordinator at CTYI along with Eleanor Cooke. During the summer programme she has traditionally taken on the role of Residential Coordinator. She is responsible for the day-to-day running of the residential course and is above the assistant residential coordinators (ARCs) and residential assistants (RAs). She is pursuing a PhD on the topic of early university entrance, via the School of Education at DCU.

Administrative Staff

The Centre also employs several permanent administrative staff.

Other staff

As the on-site programmes available for students are part-time and/or short-term, most of the staff associated with these programmes are contracted for a set period of time. Residential staff are hired for either 3 or 6 weeks (summer programme only) while academic staff are hired for 3 weeks, 6 weeks, or on a part-time basis during the year (e.g. an eight-week Saturday course).

Assistant Residential Coordinators (ARCs)

These staff (usually 2, 1 male and 1 female) are responsible for the care of the students at CTYI during the 12–17 summer courses. They live in the residences with the students and are the highest-ranking staff members when Catriona and Colm are absent (e.g., at night). They are in charge of the RAs also. ARCs are often ex-RAs, who return to hold a higher point of authority. An ARC may hold the position for a number of years running, one of the current ARCs named Mary Heslin has held the position for 4 years running.

Residential Assistants (RAs)

RAs are responsible for the care their RA group (normally a group of 18–22 students) and they report to the ARCs. Any residential students will bring up issues with their RAs. They may also act as mentors to the students if they are having problems settling in. Typically there is a mix between former CTYI students and those who have not attended the programme.


Instructors are generally professionals who are willing to give up 3 weeks of a year to work with CTYI's students. They are hired on the basis of specialist knowledge in a particular field and a rapport with young people. Some are former CTYI students and/or have worked on the programme as RAs or TAs.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

A TA's primary function is to assist the instructor during class time and supervision and assisting students during study period.


On the part-time programmes during the year, additional administrative staff are hired to co-ordinate Saturday programmes.

Cut in Funding

It was announced in the 2009 Irish Government Budget that the government would not continue funding CTYI. Up to 2008 the Department of Education had been providing the course with €97,000. The move was criticised by CTYI staff. However a spokesperson for the Department of Education said that "the resources available for next year meant that difficult choices had to be made and the abolition of the grant to the Centre for Talented Youth was one of those tough decisions." The government had planned to allow CTYI to become a national mandate.[2][3]

See also


  1. "Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland". Dublin City University. Dublin City University. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  2. Ryan, Sabrina (November 20, 2008). "CTYI: A cut too far in this year's budget? - website exclusive". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011.
  3. The cuts that target the talented, Gráinne Faller, The Irish Times, 11 November 2008, retrieved 26 March 2009


External links

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