Guidance Counsellor: Ashling Garvey
As a Guidance Counsellor I deal with three main areas. I provide
- Personal Counselling
- Educational Counselling and
- Career Counselling
Personal Guidance is in place to help students experiencing moments of personal crises. Counselling is available on a referral basis and students can be referred by management, school staff, parents, or they may self-refer.
Educational Guidance is available to all students throughout their time at Ballinamore PPS. It assists students with the development of study techniques, educational planning, subject choice information and personal organisation skills.
Career Guidance is provided to assist all students with the identification of their individual interests and aptitudes, to make them aware of the range opportunities that will be available to them upon completion of their second level education and to guide them through the application procedures for the various avenues of further education and training institutions such as CAO, UCAS and FETAC.
Our aim is to offer help, guidance and support to our students throughout their time in school. This we hope to achieve through the implementation of the Children First Guidelines for child protection, our anti bullying policy, the code of discipline and the provision of career guidance, chaplaincy, learning support, mentoring and above all individual contact with our students.
Pastoral Care supports the holistic development of each student and as Guidance Counsellor I play an integral role in its provision. Each year a Pastoral Care team, comprised of the Guidance Counsellor, Chaplain, Principal, Deputy Principal, AEN (Additional Educational Needs) Department and teaching staff representatives meets regularly to oversee student welfare within the school. This includes identifying students who are in need of personal and/or learning support, as well as students who have suffered loss or are experiencing personal crisis. We invite speakers to address selected student groups on relevant issues and participate in initiatives from time to time that we believe to be beneficial to our school community such as Positive Mental Health Week, Healthy Living Week, Parenting Courses, a Mentoring Programme for first year students and Anti Bullying modules.
In an effort to encourage our students to reach out and ask for help if they have any concerns about their own wellbeing or that of a fellow student we have put in place a variety of methods of communication to make it as easy as possible for our whole school community to talk to us. We can be contacted during school hours through all of the following:
Students can drop a note into the pastoral care box (located outside the chaplain's office)
They can send a message to the pastoral care textline on (086) 1530909
Alternatively, they can email email@example.com.
The pastoral care box, mobile phone and email account will only be checked by either the Guidance Counsellor or the Chaplain and all communications will be completely confidential unless a disclosure indicates that a student is at risk. In such cases we are obliged to act in accordance with the Children First Guidelines for the protection of children.
Every year we have a Positive Mental Health Week, during which the Pastoral Care Team in association with the Student Council organise a couple of events to promote an awarness of positive mental health among our students, parents and staff. During this week we distribute the cards illustrated below to remind students of the supports available to them both in the school and in the wider community. The reverse side of the card gives the website addresses and helpline phone numbers of a variety of organisations including Al Ateen, Childline, Bodywhys, Pieta House and The Samaritans to name but a few. A more comprehensive list of agencies providing support to those experiencing difficulties is available in the articles section of this website.
On Monday 23rd November 2015 we marked the beginning of Belong To's Stand Up! week by having a non uniform day. The students were encouraged to wear bright colours to show that they are willing to stand up against homophobic and transphobic bullying. The money raised on the day was donated to Pieta House as a recent survey showed that 27% of young LGBT people had self harmed, that 50% of under 25's within the LGBT community had considered suicide at some point and that 20% of LGBT under 25's had attempted suicide. The day was a great success thanks to the enthusiasm and support of students and staff. Many thanks to everyone who made the effort to wear bright colours on the day and who made posters and helped to decorate the school to promote our anti bullying stance.