Our school values each student individually. We recognise the growth of each person socially, spiritually, morally and intellectually within the school community. We acknowledge adolescence as a particularly challenging period of growth and renewal in each of these areas. We endeavour to nurture and support the development of each student while in our care, through a comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Programme. To compliment the programme, we offer one-to-one Guidance and Counselling on request or by referral, to students in Junior and Senior cycle and up to one year after graduation, subject to availability.
We aim to equip students with lifelong skills toward independent functioning. We aim to support each student in the key transitions. We aim to develop the student’s interpersonal skills and increase their awareness of the diversity of the needs, views and beliefs of others. We seek to instil in our students a responsibility for the environment, the community and society.
We acknowledge the socio-economic disadvantage experienced by many of our students. We hope through Guidance and Counselling to promote high educational values, ensure students have access to the fullest possible range of educational services and supports and strongly encourage progression to further education.
We acknowledge the multiplicity of choices faced by adolescents; personally, socially, educationally and vocationally, our Programme is designed to meet students’ needs in these four key areas.
THE GUIDANCE PLAN
The guidance plan serves to outline guidance activities chosen to respond to students’ guidance needs as they were prioritised through the planning process. Built into the plan are review mechanisms, while the plan is not definitive, it is designed for the medium term (3 years).
The partners in the School Guidance and Counselling Programme include:
- Students, parents and staff
- Key staff include members of the student care team: – Principal, HSCL Officer, the Counsellor, the Guidance Counsellor.
- Other staff members include the Tutor, Year Head, learning support teachers and special needs assistants.
- Outside agencies may be used where it is deemed necessary, e.g. – Kildare Youth Services.
The Guidance Programme is delivered by many teachers, in a variety of ways:
- Through curricula, in subjects such as: RE, S.P.H.E., H. Ec., PE and through modules on many educational courses such as; J.C.S.P., L.C.A. and L.C.V.P.
- Through specific guidance activities both within school and outside school for example; trips to local industry, guest speakers, work experience/shadowing.
- Through extra-curricular activities, for example; sports participation, school trips, participation in community projects/charities.
3 YEAR GUIDANCE PLAN – JUNIOR CYCLE
Personal & Social Guidance
1st Year – To ease the transition from Primary to Post-primary School, with emphasis on the well-being/happiness of the child, through meetings in the primary school and an open evening prior to entry. To address the issue of multi-culture across the curriculum.
2nd Year – Guidance activities within S.P.H.E., C.S.P.E. and R. Ed. Development of interpersonal skills, communication skills and conflict resolution.
3rd Year – Guidance activities within S.P.H.E., C.S.P.E and R. Ed. Development of social awareness through action project. Balance of school, leisure and work. Decision making skills.
1st Year – Assistance with subject choice. Information on consequences of choices, skills/competencies required for particular subjects and study demands of each subject.
Consultation with Tutors, teachers and J.C.S.P. Co-ordinators on selection for J.C.S.P. Programme.
2nd Year – Classroom guidance activities on motivation, learning styles and homework/study techniques.
3rd Year – Preparation for state exams, revision and organisation of study. Subject and course options for senior cycle. Information and decision making skills.
1st Year – Exploration of interests, talents and achievements. Awareness of potential career possibilities. Increasing self-awareness and broadening career possibilities. Highlighting possibilities arising out of further education.
2nd Year – Improving information seeking skills, introduce career packages for exploratory work, undertake a basic career investigation.
3rd Year – Employ the use of appropriate tests to further inform the student’s personal profile, in terms of aptitude, interests and skills. Provide appropriate feedback to students.
Toward the improvement of Guidance Services at Junior Cycle the Guidance Counsellor, with the relevant educational partners will work on the following priority goals, to be in progress by 2008.
- To develop an educational programme aimed at early identification of, and support for students capable of attending institutes of higher education. Students with no family history of third level attendance will be a priority.
- To establish a group to assess the specific guidance needs of our international population.
- To review the use of psychometric tests currently employed at entrance level and during Junior Cycle. Specifically, to research the availability and quality of tests available for use with international students.
One Year Objectives – Junior Cycle
To improve first year transition by:
- To ensure all incoming students meet a member of staff in their primary school.
- To ensure all incoming first year students are invited to the school open evening prior to entry.
- Collaborate with colleagues on improving first year induction. To evaluate this with first year students when complete.
- Meeting with each student, one-to-one during the first term.
To meet with first year students in a group setting during induction, to meet with their parents at the information evening. To provide both student and parents with clear information on Guidance and Counselling Services and support available to them.
Through S.P.H.E., C.S.P.E. and R.E. to initiate the study of multi-culture, towards appreciation of the diverse cultures in the school. Respect for other cultures to be enhanced in all subjects by including experiences of other cultures, e.g. Home Economics, making dishes from student’s country of origin.
Classroom guidance in term three, to assist students in choosing subjects for Junior Cert. Collaboration with Tutors, Year Heads and Special Needs Teachers to assess class composition, with a view to moving students to better meet their needs.
Personal Development skills in S.P.H.E., R.E. and C.S.P.E., including: relationships, communication skills, conflict resolution and interpersonal development.
Term 1 – Classroom guidance on attitudes to study, motivation, learning styles and study technique.
Term 3 – Introduction to career packages, guidance through I.T. Use of computer inventories. Brief career project using computer only.
C.S.P.E. Action Project in term one, cross-curricular involvement, outreach to community. S.P.H.E. decision-making skills. Class guidance on work/study/leisure balance.
Term 2 – Preparation for state exams, study planning, aptitude testing. Exploration of vocational interests, one-to-one guidance interview, feedback of test results.
Parent and student evening is given to assist in the choice of programme selection for senior cycle. Details of subject choices, content of subjects, demands of subjects and consequences of subject selection are given. Teachers will be available to make recommendations or give advice to parents and students.
3 YEAR GUIDANCE PLAN – SENIOR CYCLE
Personal & Social Guidance
All senior cycle students are either taking the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme or Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme. L.C.A students do a Social Studies Module and L.C.V.P. students do one period per week of S.P.H.E., taught by their Tutor, it is a programme designed in-house as a continuation to Junior Certificate S.P.H.E.
Each 5th year class is encouraged to align themselves with a voluntary group or charity, they invite guest speakers into school, heighten whole school awareness to the cause and participate in fund-raising for their cause.
Relationships and Sexuality Education is taught within the R.E. Programme with a number of invited speakers in 5th year for specific issues.
Stress management is addressed early in 6th year.
5th years – A review of student course and subject selection is carried out in light of Junior Certificate results in September each year. The Year Head, Class Tutor and Guidance Counsellor attempt to identify misplaced students.
Management of study/work/leisure is revisited.
Students capable of/or interested in attending university visit N.U.I. Maynooth (nearest university), apply for summer courses. In 6th year, students apply for Credit Union Scholarship and submit access programme applications.
- Both Leaving Certificate courses incorporate as a subject, Vocational Preparation and Guidance, over the two-year period, these modules are comprehensive preparation for the world of work and further education. This is delivered by the Guidance Counsellor, subject Teachers and Guest Speakers.
- Work experience is an integral part of T.Y and both Leaving Cert courses over the two years.
- Preparation for work experience and de-briefing post work experience is carried out in T.Y, 5th year and 6th The school endeavours to place students in work experience/shadowing situations linked to vocational interests expressed. The school encourages students to participate in voluntary work placement, that is, with a voluntary agency or charity organisation.
- 5th year students are taught information-seeking skills appropriate to career events early in the year. All 5th year students attend the FAS Opportunities event, 6th years attend Higher Options and the Local Career Day (collaborative event organised with four neighbouring schools, 550 students and 42 guest speakers this year).
One Year Objectives – Senior Cycle
- That Guidance Counsellors have timetabled contact with all Senior cycle students by 2007.
- That each student will have increased self-knowledge and occupational information through the delivery of the module specific to their course.
- That students will have participated in work experience in a field related to their vocational interests.
- That each student will have gained the skill to use career packages (career directions and qualifax) available to them in the school.
- That each 6th year student will have met with the Guidance Counsellor one-to-one at least twice to discuss their specific vocational plan.
- To involve 6th year students and their parents in a review of the Guidance Services toward the end of 6th
PLC STUDENTS – VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE
To take each group for one full morning session to inform them in the following areas:
- Progression with F.E.T.A.C. qualification
- Resources available online for career enhancement and job search skills.
Individual consultation will be available on request depending on resources.
TRANSITION YEAR GUIDANCE PROGRAMME
Transition Year is an opportunity for students to:-
- Taste a variety of subjects, thus informing their interests for senior cycle.
- Experience the world of work for the first time in an area of interest to them.
- Improve their self-knowledge in terms of personal aptitudes and abilities.
- To improve self-esteem through experiencing success at school.
- To plan a module within the programme for 2007/2008.
- To assist with preparation for work experience, to teach topics related to the world of work to students, to de-brief students after work experience.
- To do career investigation with students in an area of interest to them.
- To help students understand the importance of choosing subjects and courses for senior cycle.
- To provide parents and students with information related to subject and course choice.
- To introduce parents and students to options for third level.
The following is the definition of Counselling provided by the National Centre for Guidance in Education:
‘Counselling is helping students to explore their thoughts and feelings and the choices open to them: giving care and support to students learning to cope with the many aspects of growing up.’
‘One of the easiest human acts is also the most healing. Listening to someone. Simply listening. Not advising, coaching, but silently and fully listening.’
The school employs a Guidance Counsellor and Psychotherapist as part of the support services for students. Both of these personnel have training in helping pupils make decisions, change behaviours or effect change in their lives. The counselling service is principally a safe place where the student will be listened to, without fear, judgement or punitive response, an environment that is supportive and confidential, a place where students can explore personal, educational and career issues.
Counselling is not just reactive, counselling personnel will work with class groups in delivering prevention programmes, usually within S.P.H.E., for example – conflict resolution, or as the need arises, for example – where bullying is an issue.
Students may request counselling or be referred by parents, teachers or management. Parents may contact the counsellor by phone, students may call into the office for a request form or visit the office.
3 YEAR PLAN – COUNSELLING
1st Year – Group introduction to the service. Individual counselling during the first term.
2nd Year – Group counselling related to guidance topics in S.P.H.E., help students explore their feelings, become more aware of their feelings and have greater confidence in their ability to understand others.
3rd Year – Individual counselling to return aptitude test results and discuss course and subject options for senior cycle.
5th Year – Individual counselling following Junior Certificate results for students identified by Year Head. Group counselling in S.P.H.E. and Social Education.
6th Year – Individual counselling in term one and two related to career plan development.
OTHER STUDENTS REQUIRING COUNSELLING
Students at Risk of Early School Leaving.
Non-attendance and poverty tend to be the early indicators of early school leaving in our school. The Home-School Liaison person, parents and Guidance Counsellor work together in this situation, to keep the student in school. Where the student is old enough to decide and is determined to leave the Guidance Counsellor will work with him to aid the transition, develop a career plan and instil the notion of lifelong learning, so that he may be encouraged to continue in education at a later date.
As students arrive in the school, the Guidance Counsellor will endeavour to meet them, where possible prior to entry. Alternatively, the counsellor will meet them and support their transition.
The counselling team plan to address the specific counselling needs of international students, particularly those coming from regions of conflict or poverty.
ONE YEAR OBJECTIVES
- To meet individually with all first years in term one, to build a rapport and display interest in students well being in the school. To get a sense of any serious difficulties arising at this stage, for example: bullying.
- To meet with each sixth year student, in term one and thereafter on a needs basis.
- To develop a programme of Peer Counselling Training Group for Fifth Years, to pilot the group with a view to establishing a ‘buddy’ system for 1st
- To meet with each 3rd year student between February and May, to discuss course and subject options and feedback aptitude test results.
- Counselling will be available to all students by request / referral. Counsellors may, with client agreement, refer the client to one another depending on the nature of the issue concerned.
- To work with the international student welfare officer in the school and the group addressing issues of multi-culture as part of the Whole School Development and Planning, to specifically address the counselling needs of international students.
OTHER FUNCTIONS OF THE GUIDANCE COUNSELLOR
As illustrated in other policies we believe in a whole-school approach to goal setting and attainment of goals. Consultation with any person/organisation capable of providing knowledge, skills or broadening our outlook is encouraged and supported, put simply, we believe in seeking and sharing expertise.
Consultation – 3 Year Plan
- To heighten awareness of Guidance & Counselling as a resource to students, parents and staff, including the consultation function.
- To develop an appointment system for consultation, (although much staff consultation will inevitably occur, informally, at break times).
- To participate in parent evenings, to contribute to parents’ understanding of the developmental stage their child is at.
- To develop an induction programme to support new teachers in the school.
- To consult with course co-ordinators (L.C.A., L.C.V.P.) to aid the delivery of modules, where expertise can be shared or where part delivery of the course by the Guidance Counsellor is required.
- To consult with agencies concerned with the international population. To seek their expertise in assessing the needs of our international students.
One Year Objectives
- To produce a booklet detailing the services available in Guidance & Counselling, including contact details, to distribute it to all students, staff and parents.
- To leave an appointments space on the timetable for teachers to fill in for consultation.
- At parent evenings, listen to parents concerns about adolescents, help parents explore alternative ways to address these concerns.
- Listening to teachers at staff meetings, as well as parents at parent evenings will provide insight into the needs arising in the area of prevention programming.
- Locate or formulate printed material on concerns commonly held by parents of adolescents.
- To assist new teachers in handling challenging behaviour they are likely to experience by: broadening their understanding of student difficulties, advising them on preventative measures and offering the support service of the Guidance Counsellor to them.
- To establish links with organisations working with the international population to seek expertise in dealing with multi-culture.
The Counsellor and Guidance Counsellor will use their professional skill and judgement to assess the needs of the client. Where the counsellor feels that the needs of the client would be better served through referral to another professional, the suggestion will be made to the student. The Counsellor will support the student through the transition.
The Guidance Counsellor may refer to the Counsellor and vice versa. The counselling team endeavour to maintain a list of referral and support services relevant to the needs of our students, with whom we keep regular contact and use in prevention programming as well as responsive referral.
Parents will be involved in the referral process, the counsellor will work with students where disclosure to parents is a difficulty.
- To consult with other Guidance Counsellors in the area to collaborate in forming a well researched list of referrals, to divide research tasks among us and set time targets.
- To appraise services used through contact with students after the referral.
- To develop a standard form of record, for referral sources, to include key information such as: problem as assessed in the school, any relevant test results, work done with clients to date etc.
The Guidance Counsellor does not have all information sought by clients and consultees readily in mind, but has at her disposal, access to and knowledge of resources to which she can refer and refer others. The Guidance Counsellor will actively solicit information from sources relevant to meeting client / consultee needs and the goals of the Guidance Counselling Service. Appraisal of such information, arrangement of accessible storage and communication to other parties is also the responsibility of the Guidance Counsellor in this department.
- To identify the information needs of students, parents and teachers.
- To seek out regular publications and websites worth consulting.
- To begin researching systems for storing information prior to the move to the new school building.
- To enhance the appeal of student notice boards and printed material distributed to students.
- To keep the Principal and other relevant people up to date with developments in Guidance and Counselling.
One Year Objectives
- To use parent evenings, staff meetings and class contact with students to assess the information needs of each group. To plan according to these identified needs and seek feedback and evaluation after presentations.
- To meet with the other Guidance Counsellors in the area.
- To research systems used in other, similar new schools with facilities for Guidance library, classroom and offices to learn about systems for the new school.
- To update Guidance materials and notice board to enhance their appeal to students. To employ the LCA and LCVP fifth year students in the management of the notice board.
- To regularly leave articles of interest and relevance in the Principal’s in-tray, or other staff members’ pigeon holes, to keep them abreast of developments in Guidance and Counselling.
The results of aptitude tests, along with exam results and one-to-one counselling contribute to the building of a student profile. This profile is intended to increase students’ self-awareness, to provide clarity on strengths, interests and competencies. This type of knowledge helps inform personal, educational and vocational decision making.
- To review the existing system of testing with other involved parties.
- To identify the needs of our changing student population.
- To research tools available to help us meet those needs.
- To make contact with agencies who can advise us on multi-cultural assessment.
Ibid 4, p12.
Wheatley. M, ‘Turning to one another’. (2002) Berret / Koehler. P 88
The counselling relationship is confidential. However, there are times when the counsellor is required to breach this confidence:
- When the student is in danger to herself or others.
- When the student discloses intent to commit a crime.
- When abuse of neglect of the student is suspected.
- When a court orders the counsellor to make records available.
Parents and staff referring students are not entitled to details of issues related to student clients on request.