Careers & Guidance Counsellor
Guidance in schools refers to a range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence that assist students to develop self-management skills which will lead to effective choices and decisions about their lives. It encompasses the three separate, but interlinked,areas of personal and social development, educational guidance and career guidance.
Counselling offered within a guidance context is a key part of the Mount Sion CBS school
guidance programme, offered on an individual or group basis as part of a developmental
learning process and at moments of personal crisis. Counselling has as its objective the
empowerment of students so that they can make decisions, solve problems, address
behavioural issues, develop coping strategies and resolve difficulties they may be
experiencing. Counselling services available in Mount Sion CBS include personal counselling,
educational counselling, career counselling or combinations of these.
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A continuum of support model is applied to the Mount Sion CBS Guidance Programme. In
applying the continuum, our whole school guidance programme aims to meet the needs of
students along a varied range, from a whole school approach to group and individualised
approaches. The continuum model can be applied as follows:
Guidance For All
Is provided to all students to support personal and social, educational, and career development, and students making transitions (incoming first years, junior cycle to senior cycle and from senior cycle into apprenticeships, FET, HE and employment). A whole school approach is employed in delivering the learning and teaching activities of the school guidance programme which include, career education programmes, SPHE and Wellbeing in Junior Cycle, guidance modules and work experience/placement provided as part of senior cycle programmes (TY, LCA and LCVP).
Guidance For Some
Is provided to specific groups of students to support personal & social, educational and career development and transition making. Such groups of students will typically include, for example, students in senior cycle, especially 6th year, who will benefit from group and one-to-one guidance counselling to support educational and career decision making, and students who are making transitions. Transition points include, primary school into first year of post-primary education, junior cycle to senior cycle, and school to higher/further education and training, apprenticeships and employment.
Guidance For Few
Students may require support in meeting their developmental needs and when they experience personal crises. Some students may also require more intensive support as they make transitions and important decisions during their time in post-primary schools. The guidance counsellor, and other trained staff, are available to provide the necessary supports to students throughout the academic year. In the event that a student requires more intensive support, referral to external agencies and supports will be employed.
Within Mount Sion CBS, Guidance is structured to provide a range of learning experiences in a developmental sequence, designed to assist students to make choices about their lives and to make transitions based on these choices. These choices may be categorised into three separate but interlinked dimensions/areas:
Personal and Social Development:
Personal and Social development is largely delivered through the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and Wellbeing Programmes where it is timetabled at Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle. It comprises the following modules: Belonging and Integrating, Self-Management, Communication Skills, Physical Health, Friendship, Relationships and Sexuality, Emotional Health, Influences and Decisions and Substance Use.
Educational Guidance is developmental in nature and allows the student take responsibility for their own learning and progress. In Mount Sion CBS School Educational Guidance begins at the students’ entry in 1st year where they are introduced to a formal careers module through the Wellbeing Programme. Other areas of guidance include subject level selection, motivation and learning, participation and engagement with on-going initiatives, study skills and examination skills and learning related problems.
Career development and investigation is vocational in nature and is introduced at Junior Cycle through focused Wellbeing modules as well as via school initiatives and is mainly concentrated at Senior Cycle through timetabled career classes amongst a range of further whole school initiatives. It involves empowering students to recognise their talents and abilities so as to enable them to make informed choices and take responsibility for their own futures. Programmes such as TY, LCA and LCVP have a dedicated vocational element timetabled within their respective programmes. Career development includes areas such as development of self-awareness, employment opportunities, employment rights and duties, personal vocational guidance interviews, organisation of career talks, career and college fair, academic mentoring, speed careers, career research and career / course information, decision and planning skills, use of ICT e.g. Qualifax, vocational education and training, further education, job opportunities, job and interview preparation. A strong emphasis in the final year of school is also directed to pathways of further education including third level course/career progression with CAO, PLC and apprentice applications to the fore.
Guidance and Counselling
Support is offered on an individual, small group or class group basis. The focus of counselling is on the personal/social, educational, and career issues and is delivered on a one-to-one basis, in small groups or as part of timetabled classes. The School counselling service provides a caring context for counselling, engages in advocacy where appropriate and supports young people in personal crises.
Individual Counselling is an interactive process to help the student to understand their personal reality in a safe, supportive environment and help them deal responsibly with their needs.
Group work is offered under the direction of the Counsellor. Depending on the context and the group this can be the most effective form of support for individual members, where students can learn that they are not alone in their experience and receive healing from one another. All group work will only take place where there is proper supervision and permission.
Class group support is timetabled in nature under the supervision of the Guidance Counsellor and by the allocation of the Principal. The Guidance Counsellor is at all times sensitive to the developmental stages of the students.
All Students who have an appointment for personal counselling or vocational interviews are provided with an appointment slip. The student must provide their relevant teacher with this appointment slip before attending their appointment.
Parents/Guardians may make appointments with the Guidance Counsellor by telephoning the school. Appointments are conducted during the school day. All parties are requested to inform each other if a cancellation is necessary. On occasion, the Guidance Counsellor may request another staff member e.g. Year Head, Tutor, subject teacher or/and management to be present at a meeting. The student is always invited in for whole or part of the meeting with approval of Parents/Guardians. This gives the student responsibility, ownership and inclusion in the meeting outcomes. Notes are kept of all meetings by the Guidance Counsellor.
Counselling relationships themselves and information that is disclosed in counselling relationships are kept confidential. However, if a situation arises where the school feels a student is at risk, the Principal or Guidance Counsellor consults the student, school management, parents/guardians and relevant agencies, if necessary.
Students are encouraged to discuss their problem with their parent/guardian where appropriate. At the beginning of the counselling contract, students are always informed that what is said in the counselling session is confidential between the counsellor and the student UNLESS the counsellor feels that the pupil is a danger to themselves (including eating disorders) or anyone else, or at any other risk. Confidentiality will not apply in these cases or in the case of abuse or if a student discloses an intention to commit a crime or when a court orders a counsellor to make records available.
Reporting and Referral Procedures
In both personal counselling and in Careers Guidance Interviews the confidentiality rule is followed i.e. school management and parents/guardians are informed if it is felt that the student is a danger to himself and/or to others or it is a legal requirement.
The student is informed of the limits of confidentiality at the beginning of a session. If it is felt it is in the student’s best interests to inform a Teacher/Parent/Guardian of a particular difficulty, this is only done with the knowledge and ideally the agreement of the student. In certain instances the advice and direction a duty care social worker is sought and reported if necessary as per the School Safeguarding Statement. Such referrals are reported by the Principal at all Board of Management meetings.
A student can self-refer by requesting an appointment with the School Guidance Counsellor. Year Heads can also refer students for individual support using an internal referral form. School staff and parents/guardians are also welcome to contact the Guidance Department if they have concerns.
The Principal, as the Designated Liaison Person (DLP), in consultation with the School Guidance Counsellors, may refer to outside agencies such as the HSE and the NEPS (National Educational Psychological Service Agency). Such referrals are made in consultation with parents/guardians.