Castlepollard Community College
Castlepollard, Mullingar Road., Co Westmeath,

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Contact Guidance Office:
Ph: 0449661163

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Guidance Staff:
Breege Smith

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Welcome to Castlepollard Community College Guidance and Counselling page.  Feel free to browse around the page. 

Guidance refers to a range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence, designed to assist students to make choices about their lives and to make transitions consequent on these choices.  These choices may be categorised into three separate but interlinked areas Personal and Social. Educational and Career.

Counselling empowers the students to make decisions, solve problems, change behaviours and resolve issues in their lives.   Sometimes in Castlepollard Community College (CCC) 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 consellor 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 CCC as a process – not an event – which begins on the student’s entry in first year and continues right through the five or six 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 advise.  

Elements of the School Programme Using the present guidance allocation as judiciously as possible the programme is concentrated on 1, 3, 4 and 6 year groups.  

First Year
Students each year are offered: A short programme on transition from primary to post-primary called “Moving out – Moving In” – which helps them to adjust to new subjects, more teachers, longer day, changing friendships etc.   Help to those students who are not settling in or who are identified through the school pastoral care programme as experiencing e.g. bullying or displaying disruptive behaviour.    In first term the students’ interest and awareness of the Guidance Counsellor’s possible contribution to their general well-being is encouraged.   A module on choice of subjects for 2 years is provided for all lst years in class groups and where necessary, individual concerns are explored during personal appointments.   

Second Year
The students are generally referred by Class Tutors or Principal.  Some students self refer for a wide variety of reasons and these are promptly dealt with through individual appointments.

Third Year
A module on programme and subject choice for senior cycle is provided in class groups and students have individual interviews arranged. Comprehensive information on the potential benefits of the TransitionYear programme is made available at this time.  

Aptitude Tests
Aptitude Tests such as the DATS tests are administered and the results are explained to the students.    The annual InformationNightforParents of third years is availed of as an ideal opportunity to reinforce in summary form much of the work covered in class.  A number of parents take up the invitation to visit the school to discuss at some length any concerns they have or widen their knowledge of the options on offer to their sons/daughters.  

Transition Year
During this year most students who choose the TY option have their first experience of the world for work.   Detailed preparation for the three work experience placements is undertaken.    During class times students learn about the various options open to them on completion of the Leaving Certificate examination.   The whole spectrum of the 3 level system in Ireland is explained in considerable detail - the selection process (CAO), Universities, Institutes of Technology, Post-leaving Certificate courses, Apprenticeship, Defence Forces, Failte Ireland Courses, Garda and Agricultural Colleges. Subject Options for 5th years, which would have been dealt with in 3rd year, are covered again and individual interviews arranged as deemed necessary.   

Fifth Year
All 5th Year students are facilitated individually as they prepare their Career Investigations as part of the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme.  These meetings are also used regularly to reinforce good study habits, caution against excessive hours in part time work and generally to follow up on information that is supplied by Class Tutors.

Sixth Year
The Guidance Counsellor meets all 6th years individually during first term.  Some students are seen several times depending on personal needs and circumstances.   All Senior Students (Transition Years, 5 and 6 Years) have full access to Qualifax and Career Directions on their own PCs and on the school computer system. The Guidance Counsellor takes classes for Guidance purposes with 6 years on a weekly basis. At the distribution of CAO applications. Arranging Open Day Visits. At CAO Application time and when “change of mind” facility opens. Dealing with the procedure for grant applications or arranging accommodation. Preparing classes for visiting speakers. End of year module covering independent living whether as a student or worker while living away from home for the first time.

In dealing with students throughout the school the Guidance Counsellor works in harmony with the Principal, Deputy-Principal, Learning Support Teacher and other staff.    Occasionally it becomes clear that our collective insights and expertise are inadequate to deal with particular issues.  In such cases students are referred for further consideration to the area psychologist, the local Health Care Executive or an agency deemed qualified to handle the particular case.   The Guidance Counsellor endeavours at all times to make the guidance programme Accessible to all students As responsive as possible to concerns expressed by staff colleagues. Impartial Inclusive Informed Confidential in nature. Expressive of the Catholic ethos of CCC. This school guidance plan being implemented in CCC addresses the main needs of the students by helping them in their personal and social, educational and career planning needs.


Every Thursday from 1:05 - 1:40pm Ms Smith is available to speak to any student in relation to any issues they may have.  They can call to the Guidance Office as we have an "Open Door" policy and always happy to see students calling in!!!


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