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Guidance refers to a range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence, designed to assist students to make choices about thier lives and to make transitions consequent on these choices. These choices may be categorised into three seperate but interlinked areas Personal and Social, Educational and Career.
Counselling empowers the students to make decisions, solve problems, change behaviours and resolve issues in thier lives. Sometimes in Newport College this may be personal counselling, educational counselling, career counselling or it may involve combinations of each. Counselling is a key part of the school guidance key programme offered on an individual or group basis as part of a developmental learning process and at moments of personal crisis.
The guidance counsellor provides support also to parents, teachers and the school management in assisting the personal and social, career and educational development of the students.
Career Guidance and Counselling is viewed in Newport College as a process- not an event- which begins on the students entry in first year and continues right through the five years spent in the school. Very often a number of past students who are perhaps experiencing some difficulty in third level education or are seeking help in securing or changing employment contact the school for assistance and advice.
All students have a right to confidentiality in their dealings with the School Guidance Counsellor (SGC). The right is not universal, however, and there are some cases in which - for the student's best interest - confidentiality cannot be guaranteed e.g. in the case of abuse, bullying, and risk to another student's life. In counselling the student, the counsellor should make the student aware that confidentiality could not be guaranteed in any of the above cases and that information of this nature would have to be referred on. In short, students who meet with the SGC will be informed of the following. 1) All things discussed are confidential between the student and the SGC except when the student himself or another person is at risk. 2) Any information which highlights that the student or another person is in danger. 3) If the student is in danger of doing grievous harm to himself.
Psychological and educational assessments/tests are useful insofar as they provide information for the SGC and others for whom it is relevant. Judicious use of test information is helpful in predicting academic and occupational performance, classifying ability, assessing remediation requirements and levels of achievement. Assessment results are important. Yet, their dissemination is of equal or greater importance. In returning the results of a student's assessment, the SGC must be aware of the confidentiality and sensitivities of the student and the manner in which the SGC shares the information with the student.
Tests may include: Personality tests, Aptitude tests, Interest inventories, Problem checklist, General ability tests, Performance tests, School exam results and Public exam results.
Information for Parents
It is important that parents are made to feel free and welcome to come and visit the guidance counsellor. An appointment system is the best operational mode in this way. Alternatively, a phone call from parents over a concern can be accommodated quickly. Also, as part of overall school information dissemination e.g. school notices, parent-teacher meetings, open nights, enrolment days etc. information regarding guidance and counselling is made available as required.
The school guidance counselling service is administered by a professionally trained School Guidance Counsellor. The SGC, as part of a school team, focuses primarily on the personal and social, educational and vocational development of his/her students. The aim of the service is to professionally answer the guidance and counselling needs of the student (the central figure in the learning process) in the context of the overall school mission. (School mission statement included)
Protocol for Meetings
Meeting with students are all made by appointment. Students make appointments during lunchtime guidance sessions. The class teacher has the right to refuse a student to leave for an appointment. If a teacher refuses the appointment is rescheduled. Students are signed out by the subject teacher at the time of the appointment. Teachers may also refer the students to the guidance counsellor. The guidance Counsellor is briefed by the teacher and a plan of action negotiated.
Parents/Guardians 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 of if a cancellation is necessary. On occasion the guidance Counsellor may request another staff member e.g. Vice Principle, Principle or Year Head to be present at the meeting. The student is always invited in for whole or part of the meeting with approval of parent or guardian. This gives the student responsibility, ownership and inclusion in the meetings outcome. Notes are kept at all meeting by the guidance counsellor.
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