Guidance Service Arklow CBS
DEFINITION OF GUIDANCE
Guidance in second level schools refers to a range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence that assist students in developing 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.
Personal counselling is aimed at equipping the student with an increased self-awareness and self-confidence to go out into the world. It also helps students form constructive relationships where they can take responsibility for their actions and make informed choices.
Educational counselling aims to equip students with the confidence to choose subjects and courses that suit them. Students are encouraged to explore their own capabilities through testing and to take responsibility for their choices.
Vocational counselling aims to ascertain what career path the student should take with information gathered from assessments to crystallize goals and to make informed choices. The end result is that the student chooses the career that gives meaning to their life and also “becomes the self that one truly is” (Corey, 2004).
The approach taken in Arklow CBS is a holistic approach and stems from the basic view of human nature advocated by Carl Rogers; in the right circumstances and with the right support, the person has the resources and solutions within themselves to solve their problems and make healthy decisions.
Guidance is not an event, it is an ongoing process, which begins before the student enters the school and can continue when they leave the school.
Section 9(c) of the 1998 Education Act states that a school shall use its available resources to … “Ensure that students have access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choice, promote the moral, spiritual social and personal development of students in consultation with their parents having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school”.
The Guidance service aims to provide education in partnership with parents and guardians and other care givers, to support the development of the person in a caring community characterised by mutual respect.
Counselling empowers the students to make decisions, solve problems, change behaviours and resolve issues in their lives. Sometimes in Arklow CBS 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. In dealing with students throughout the school the Guidance Counsellor works in harmony with the Principal, Deputy-Principal, Year Heads/Tutors, Learning Support Team 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.
Meeting with students are all made by appointment. For personal counselling, Year Heads/Tutors/Management and Teachers can request meetings through referrals. Students themselves to can make appointments and parents too can request a meeting for their son. Career appointments are given to all 3rd/4th year students and 6th year students. Other year groups can also request such appointments. 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.
CONFIDENTIALITY All students have a right to confidentiality in their dealings with the Guidance Service. 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 makes 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 Guidance Counsellor will be informed of the following 1) All things discussed are confidential between the student and the Guidance Counsellor 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. ETHICAL REQUIREMENTS Ethical awareness is a prerequisite for the Guidance Counsellor. They are obliged to operate, in policy, process and practice in an ethical manner. The Guidance Counsellor's primary focus is the welfare of the student and is ethically bound to act in the best interest of the student. The counsellor must act within the law, and within the ethical guidelines as outlined by the profession. The Guidance Counsellor is expected to be competent in and mindful of the legal and ethical responsibilities of their work, and are obliged to seek out new developments in the personal, educational and vocational fields with a view to improving the overall counselling service to the student. INFORMATION FOR PARENTSIt 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. Up to date information will be provided on the website.
OVERVIEW OF GUIDANCE PROVISION
FIRST YEARStudents each year are offered: Classes with the Guidance Counsellor to help students settling and to create awareness of the Guidance Counsellor’s role with them in their time in Arklow CBS and possible contribution to their general well-through support provided. The Year Head/ Tutors and staff through the school pastoral care programme as experiencing e.g. bullying or displaying disruptive behaviour, are often referred for support. A module on choice of subjects for 2 years is provided for all lst years in class groups and where necessary.
The students are generally referred by Class Tutors, Year Heads or Principal. Some students self-refer for a wide variety of reasons and these are promptly dealt with through individual appointments.
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 such as the DATs for Guidance are administered and the results are explained to the students.
The annual InformationNightforParents of third years is given regarding options for Senior cycle.
During this year most students who choose the TY option have their first experience of Careers classes which mainly concentrates on the World of Work. Detailed preparation for the four work experience “blocks” is undertaken.
Subject Options for Senior cycle, are covered and individual interviews arranged.
All 5 Year students have a Guidance class and where possible are facilitated individually as they prepare for making informed decisions in 6th year. They are involved in Career Investigations, study skills seminars, doing research regarding options by looking at relevant websites and literature, and preparing in general for their futures. They participate in CV/Job Application classes and preparation for Mock Interviews.
The Guidance Counsellor meets all 6 years individually during first term regarding their careers decisions and applications for college/apprenticeships/work. Some students are seen several times depending on personal needs and circumstances. Students are assisted with applications for schemes such as the HEAR/DARE/Scholarships/SUSI grants. They have visiting speakers from colleges/apprenticeships programme/past pupils and attend the Higher Options Careers event. All Senior Students (Transition Years, 5 and 6 Years) have access to a careers library and are introduced to Careersportal, Qualifax, CAO, Apprenticeships ..ie, and college websites.
Specific classes are given on topics such as CAO applications, dealing with the procedure for grant applications, HEAR/DARE, arranging accommodation, study skills and exam preparation, and modules covering independent living whether as a student or worker while living away from home for the first time.
There is a specific parent night on CAO applications.