The Role of the Guidance and Counselling Department

The Guidance Counsellor has a specific role to play in the main areas of guidance: personal and social, educational and career. The key areas of responsibility within the role of the Guidance Counsellor include:

  1. Individual Support: This area includes both personal and careers support. It aims to support pupils in their personal development, help them solve any problems they may have within learning, study, subject choice, progression and behaviour. An open door policy exists whereby students can avail of this service and their participation is entirely voluntary. The guidance counselling service will provide a caring context for support, engage in advocacy where appropriate and support young people in crisis. See also referrals function page 4.
  2. Psychometric Testing/Assessment: This includes both cognitive and career based tests. These are used to acquire information for self- understanding and to enable adequate monitoring of academic progress. Aptitude tests, interest inventories and examination performance can help in problem solving, decision-making and planning for the future. In communicating these results of tests the guidance counsellor will endeavour to ensure that the results are not misused, misinterpreted or damaging to the student in any way. The purpose of each test administered will be made clear to students and the results will be made available to the student and parents/guardians if requested.
  3. Information: Providing students with objective and factual up to date information on educational and occupational opportunities as well as helping them to interpret and use this information.
  4. Educational development programmes: Providing knowledge and skills relating to studying, examination performance, choices of subjects and levels.
  5. Career transitions programmes: Providing the necessary concepts, knowledge and skills to enable students to make the transition to further and higher education, training and work.
  6. Classroom Guidance Activities: Information giving and vocational preparation are examples of items covered during classroom based learning relevant to the objectives of the school Guidance Plan.
  7. Referrals: Referrals come under three headings:
    1. Self-referral by and individual student to the Guidance Counsellor
    2. Referrals made to the Guidance Counsellor by an individual teacher, by school management or through the pastoral care team.
    3. Referral made by the Guidance Counsellor to an outside agency -assistance for students from other qualified professionals/agencies may also be sought where appropriate. Areas of concern may include learning difficulties, bereavement, emotional and behavioural problems. In such areas the Guidance Counsellor will seek the consent of parents/guardians prior to all external referrals.

Current Guidance Provision


Assessments Entrance test and assessment of pupils’ academic profile. The Ravens and Schonell tests are administered. Results are combined with the information already received from the Primary Schools and are used to determine the pupils who may need learning support.

First Year

Mentoring Senior students are selected and trained to monitor and support first years as they settle in especially during the first term. They report any difficulties that students may have to the Pastoral care team, Year Head or Guidance Counsellor.
One to One Meetings Meet with each class group to explain the Guidance Counsellor’s role in the context of the pastoral care structure within the school.  Explain how to make an appointment. Meet students in need of one-to-one personal, social or educational guidance and where necessary arrange referrals to outside agencies. Referrals from year heads/ teachers/self-referral from students.

Second Year

Special needs Liaise with SEN Teachers with regard to students with learning or behavioural problems.
Student Appointments Individual counselling if required. Referrals from year heads/teachers/self-referrals from students
Study Skills All students participate in a study skills workshop provided by the Guidance Counsellor

Third Year

Subject Choice Third Years are given presentations on the Senior Cycle options and the subject choices available to them in fifth year. The implications of their choices for Third Level entry are explained. An information evening is held for parents.
Peer to Peer subject mentoring Representatives of Senior Cycle subjects hold an information sharing even for the 3rd year and T.Y. students to assist in decision making.
Subject Talks from Teachers A short presentation is made to Third Years and Transition Years by a teacher from each subject department.
Assessments The DATS (Differential Aptitude Tests) is administered to all third year students and assists in subject choice decision making.
Student Appointments Educational counselling and guidance is offered to students on the appropriate subjects and programme to choose. Particular attention is paid to students who may be at risk of dropping out.

Personal counselling is offered as required. Referrals from year heads/ teachers/self-referral from students.

Transition Year

Purpose The main objective of this programme is to promote student self-awareness that will help determine which career path best suits their aptitudes, interests, values and personality. Each student has a workbook and a personalised online space. All classes are based in the Information Technology classrooms to allow students access online resources such as Careers Portal and Qualifax.
  • Assists students to identify personal strengths and areas for development.
  • Identifies key websites and resources to enable students to independently research career areas.
  • Enables reflection on learning from work experience placements and the insights it provides on potential career paths.
  • Encourages informed decision making regarding subject choice.
  • Assists in formulating a career plan for senior cycle.
Duration of Classes One 40 minute class per week for the academic year



  • All students complete a CV and letter of application.
  • Students carry out an in depth Work Experience report having participated in two separate work experience opportunities.
Subject Choice Class time is given to enable students to make an informed decision on subject choice and the career implications of choosing certain subjects. Students avail of talks from individual subject teachers and senior cycle students.
Parents Information Evening Information evenings are provided in the school on subject choice and senior cycle programme choice for parents.
Student appointments Students may be referred by class teacher, year head or management for individual career or personal counselling. Students may self-refer as well.
Programme Outline
  • The National Qualifications Framework
  • Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  • CAO and PLC systems
  • Assessment of Interests and  Skills
  • Employment Sectors
  • C.V. preparation
  • UCAS system
  • College Visit Preparation
  • Study Skills for fifth year.

Fifth Year

Student Appointments The role of the Guidance Counsellor is explained. Individual counselling is offered as required. Referrals to outside agencies are made where necessary. The Guidance Counsellor liaises with all members of the Pastoral Care team on an ongoing basis.
Changing Subjects Students who feel they have made a wrong choice in a subject are encouraged to talk to the Guidance Counsellor and Principal to see if it is possible to change another subject and if it fits in with their career plans.
Assessment An interest inventory is administered to all fifth year students taking the established Leaving Certificate.
Careers Interviews The results of the DATs, an interest inventory such as the CII (Career Interest Inventory) and Junior Certificate results form the basis for individual interviews which take place throughout the year. Possible career options are discussed with the student who is given research to do on these options.
Careers Classes
  • Take place every two weeks for 40 minutes.
  • In order to aid this research students are made familiar with careers websites such as Qualifax, Careers Portal, CAO and UCAS.
  • Demonstrations are made and where possible students are brought to the computer room to research college courses. Students are also brought to the careers library to make them aware of other sources of careers information.
Programme Outline The topics covered include:

  • The Process of Choosing a Career
  • The National Qualifications Framework
  • CAO
  • PLC Colleges
  • UCAS
  • Points systems
  • Apprenticeships
  • Direct entry to workforce
College Visit Students are given the option of attending a university/college open day during the first term to introduce them to third level education.
Visiting Speakers College liaison personnel are invited to give presentations to students.

Visiting speakers include:

  • Universities and Institutes of Technology
  • PLC Colleges
  • Apprenticeships
  • STEM speakers
Personal Development Day A study skills workshop is offered by the Guidance Counsellor
Integration of All Fifth Years The Guidance Counsellor facilitates a workshop whereby students who did TY and those who did not are encouraged to engage in a variety of activities such as role play and group work to highlight the importance of communicating more effectively with each other. The aim of the workshop is to:

  • Prevent and counteract bullying
  • To increase students self-awareness and sensitivity to students who may be feeling isolated
  • To remind students that they all belong in the School and wider community and that nobody should feel left out.

 Sixth Year

Purpose To assist students in the transition to further education, higher education, training or employment pathways.
Careers classes
  • Take place every two weeks for 40 minutes.
  • Helps students to understand and use the CAO process.
  • Assist students in applying for courses in the UK using the UCAS system.
  • Enables students to apply to colleges in the Further Education System.
  • Provides career interviews for the students to identify career areas that suits their own skills, qualities and interests.
  • Enables students to develop Information Technology research skills for independent course searches.
  • Provides information on the HEAR scheme, DARE scheme and other access routes into Higher Education.
  • Support students apply for SUSI grants.
  • Encourages the students to reflect and evaluate learning experiences in making informed career decisions.
College Visits The majority of sixth year students attend the Higher Options in September.

Students may also attend Open Days in Universities, Institutes of Technology and PLC Colleges.

Career Events All sixth year students attend school based College Talks and receive presentations from representatives from a selection of Universities, Institutes of Technology and PLCs.  Throughout the academic year students receive representations from other colleges of interest. Students receive talks on stress management and life skills .Students are reminded of the ongoing college events throughout the year using the Guidance Noticeboard, assemblies, classes, intercom, mailings and school text system.
Central Applications Office(CAO) Process CAO booklets are distributed in November. Information received at the CAO conference is relayed to students Presentations are given on the application process.

The CAO timetable is highlighted to students and the key deadlines underlined. The Guidance Counsellor is available to meet students on an individual basis after CAO round 1offers in August.

Parents Information Evening A presentation is given to parents on all aspects of applying to the CAO and information is provided on other third level options available.
Universities and College Admission Service 


Students are assisted completing their personal statements and references are written by the Guidance Counsellor.  Presentation given on the UCAS process. Teacher feedback collected on skills and aptitudes of the UCAS applicants.
Higher Education access route


A presentation is delivered on the application process and students are assisted in any HEAR- Higher Education Access Route queries in career counselling sessions.
Disability Access Route to Education


A Disability Access Route to Education presentation is delivered to students. Guidance Counsellor provides reference as part of the application process. Students are advised on the supports that are available at third level and information is provided on relevant personnel in third level colleges.
Colleges of Further Education Students are advised on the application process and an interview skills workshop is delivered to students who have applied to a PLC College. Individual interview preparation is offered. Students are advised on the progression routes from further education into higher education.
Career Counselling Each student receives a Guidance interview. A profile of the student’s interests, aptitudes and values is formulated. The results from tests previously administered will be used. The profile is discussed taking into consideration current examination performance and the student’s identified career goals. The interview provides the basis for continued contact with the students throughout the year. Students are also advised of consequences of changing subject levels on course selection.
Personal Support This service is available to all sixth year students throughout the year and referrals made as necessary.
Individual Parents Appointments Guidance Counsellor is accessible to meet parents for any concerns that may arise throughout the academic year.
SUSI system Presentation is delivered to students on the Grant system and students are provided with information on the application process and contact details of the SUSI system.

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