Guidance and Counselling Policy

Scope of Policy:

This policy applies to all students, their parents, staff and Board of Management.


This policy having due regard for the education Act 1998 sets down how guidance is regarded as a core element of this schools curriculum. 

Section 9         (c) a school “shall use its available resources to …ensure that students have access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational needs and career choices.

(d) Promote the moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students… in consultation with their parents; having regard to the characteristic spirit of the school.

 Mission Statement:

The core value of Our Lady of Mercy College, Beaumont is respect for all and the nurturing of individual potential academically, spiritually and culturally as a member of the school community and in the spirit of the Mercy Ethos.

Guidance may be defined as a range of experiences to help students make personal, social, educational and career choices.  

Counselling may be seen as the empowerment of students to make decisions, solve problems, develop coping strategies and resolve difficulties they may be experiencing.

Aims and Objectives:

Our aims and objectives are guided by the principles of The Institute of Guidance Counsellors and The National Centre for Guidance in Education, and focused on providing a response to the guidance needs of the school. 

  1. The guidance programme will be delivered through class contact and one to one interviews.
  2. The guidance programme is set out to reflect the needs of the students at all stages of their school life.
  3. The guidance programme sets out to identify the needs of each specific year group and design a programme which meets those needs.   It sets out to be accessible, student centred, inclusive and responsive.
  4. It sets out to assist students to make choices and to make transitions in the educational, social and personal aspects of their lives.
  5. It sets out to provide the following: counselling, assessment, information, advice, educational development programmes, personal and social development programmes and referral.

Other guidance activities that support the aims of the school guidance programme would include: consultation with parents, school staff and students, feedback on the needs of individual students to those concerned, networking with relevant agencies and individuals and managing organizing and coordinating guidance activities into a coherent programme.

Guidance includes all support services within the school:

The Guidance Counsellor                                                                                   

Special Needs Teachers     

Year Heads 

Class Tutors

Subject Teachers 


Deputy Principal

Special Needs Assistants

Guidance provision is an integral part of all aspects of school life.   All teachers and support staff have a part to play in the planning and delivery of the schools guidance plan.

All guidance and counselling should be in consultation with the Guidance Counsellor and appropriate records retained by the Guidance Counsellor.   See Appendix.

What do we provide at the moment?

  • All students have access, on an individual basis, to the Guidance Counsellor.
  • Students may make private appointments, may be referred by parents, other teachers, the Principal or Deputy Principal.
  • CSPE and SPHE programmes see Appendix.
  • Referral to other professional agencies e.g.  NEPS where necessary.

First Year:

There is contact before entry with primary school, Principal and Deputy Principal meet with the Principal and 6th Class teachers in feeder primary schools. Guidance Counsellor is also available to respond to queries prior to entry.

Principal meets parents of incoming 1st years individually and assessment tests take place prior to entry. 

There is also a general meeting, Parents’ Night early in September where parents have the opportunity to meet the 1st Year Year Head and Class Tutors.

SPHE see Appendix

CSPE see Appendix

 Guidance Module (half year per class group).

This programme is designed to assist students to settle into school, discourage  bullying, enhance self-esteem and discover personal strengths.   Outside speakers may be brought in. 

The main emphasis is on ‘discovering yourself’.   This is done through developing

  • friendship skills,
  • responsibilities,
  • study skills,
  • subject diaries,
  • self enhancement and stress management,
  • dealing with bullying.

Second Year:

SPHE see Appendix

 CSPE see Appendix

Individual appointments as necessary,

  • Progress / interview meeting,
  • Information on study techniques.

Third Year:

SPHE see Appendix

CSPE see Appendix

  • Individual appointments as necessary,
  • Guidance is provided to assist students in subject choices for senior level,
  • Subject Choices

There is a Senior Options Evening to which all 3rd Year parents are invited where subject choices are discussed.   Information is also provided on TY and LCVP programmes.  Individual appointments are available where necessary.

Fourth Year:

One timetabled class period per week which includes:

  • Preparation for work experience,
  • Overview of third level options,
  • Subject choices.

There is a Senior Options Evening to which all 4th year parents are invited.   Subject choices are discussed and information is also given on LCVP programme.  Individual appointments are available where necessary.

Fifth Year:

One timetabled class period per week which covers:

  • Matching aptitudes and abilities to career choices,
  • Preparation of CV’s,
  • Interview preparation,
  • Aptitude tests (DATS),
  • CAO preparation,
  • Post Leaving Certificate courses,
  • Other work and training opportunities,
  • LCVP programme which includes Preparation for Work module.  A career investigation is prepared and work experience is completed.

Sixth Year:

  • Individual appointments,
  • Career talks,
  • Attendance at Open Days and Exhibitions,
  • LCVP programme which includes Preparation for Work module.  A career investigation is prepared and work experience is completed.

Other related policies

Pastoral Care:

See attached policy

Special Needs:

See attached policy

Critical Incidence:

See attached policy

Substance Abuse:

See attached policy

The schools priorities: 

  1. Individual Education Plans.
  2. Regular Care Team meetings.
  3. An improved referral system.
  4. A whole school approach to guidance.
  5. To expand the guidance provision to second years and to groups of students who may not be catered for at present.


This policy will be reviewed every three years.

April 16th, 2008


Civic Social and Political Education (CSPE)

 “Civic, Social and Political Education seeks to be affective and to equip pupils with the skills and understanding of processes which enable them to see, decide, judge and act.  Its employment of active and co-operatively structured learning methodologies enable and empower the pupil to become an active and participative young person.”

(Department of Education, Civic, Social and Political Education Syllabus, Government of Ireland, Dublin, 1996).

 An overview of CSPE

 Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) is a Junior Certificate course in active citizenship based on human rights and social responsibilities.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child are the two key documents which underpin this course.

 Civic, Social and Political Education aims to develop active citizens with:

 • A sense of belonging.  Students will only choose to become active participants in their communities if they feel a sense of attachment to them.  Social inclusion and matters of identity and values are addressed in CSPE.  These are the affective dimensions of active citizenship.

A capacity to gain access to information and structures relating to the society in which they live.  Students need a basis of information and knowledge upon which they can consider action, and do so with confidence.  This is the cognitive dimension of active citizenship.

An ability and confidence to participate in democratic society.  Practising citizenship is about taking meaningful action of some kind.  To achieve this, the syllabus states that over the three-year duration of the course in Civic, Social and Political Education students should undertake at least two class/group/individual action projects.  This is the pragmatic dimension of active citizenship.


The objectives of CSPE are outlined in terms of knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes/values.  An appropriate vehicle for the achievement of these objectives within CSPE is active, participatory class-work where the emphasis is on learning-by-doing. 

Through their work in CSPE, students should acquire basic knowledge and a broad understanding of the following:

  • Citizenship
  • Human rights
  • Participation
  • Sustainable development
  • Democratic system
  • Globalisation

Concepts are

  • Rights & Responsibilities
  • Democracy
  • Stewardship
  • Interdependence
  • Development
  • Law
  • Human Dignity

Skills developed

  • Identification/awareness skills           
  • Analysis/evaluation skills                   
  • Communication skills                         
  • Action skills

Attitudes and Values

Students will be encouraged to recognise values and develop positive attitudes in relation to themselves, other people, the environment and the wider world.  Through their work on this course pupils will be given opportunities to reflect upon and recognise the beliefs and values which underlie their attitudes and actions as individuals and as members of groups or communities.  The values of this course, expressed in the attitudinal objectives below, are based on a commitment to human rights, individual social responsibilities and democracy.

Commitment to active citizenship


Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE)


The Education Act, 1998 places a responsibility on schools to ‘promote moral, spiritual, social and personal development of students and provide health education for them’.    The SPHE Curriculum Guidelines for teachers advises that ‘a young person who has a high degree of self-worth, a sense of security and positive self image will be more predisposed to school life and the variety of learning situations it offers’.   

 In April 2000 the Department of Education & Science,(DES) issued a circular to Post Primary schools giving approval of the Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE) curriculum prepared by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).   

SPHE provides students with an opportunity to develop the skills and competence to learn about themselves, to care for themselves and others, and to make informed decisions about their health, personal lives and social development.   

Aims of SPHE 

  • To enable the students to develop skills for self-fulfilment and living in communities
  • To promote self-esteem and self-confidence
  • To enable the students to develop a framework for responsible decision-making
  • To provide opportunities for reflection and discussion
  • To promote physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.   

Many aspects of contemporary life-such as substance misuse, the sexualisation of young people, pressures on family, self-harm, bullying, risk-taking, stress and suicide- point to the need for inclusion of a well developed SPHE school programme, addressed through the curriculum in an age- and language- appropriate way.   

The SPHE curriculum is spiral in nature, and is presented in ten modules, revisited year by year and growing in depth and relevance each time.   The modules are: 

  •  Belonging and Integration
  •  Self Management
  •  Communication Skills
  •  Physical Health
  •  Friendship
  •  Emotional Health
  •  Relationships and Sexuality
  •  Influences and Decision-Making
  •  Substance Use
  •  Personal Safety

 SPHE Syllabus in Our School

  First Year  Second Year Third Year
1 Starting secondary school Motivation & goals Who am I?
2 Making friends Study skills Love or lust?
3 Getting to know your new school Criticism and compliments Conflict in relationships
4 Homework Bullying Exam focus
5 Communication Nutrition & exercise Visiting the doctor
6 Friendship Body image Preventing disease
7 Personal Hygiene Relationships with parents Depression
8 Healthy eating Mental Health Drug abuse
9 Time to relax Influences & decisions Teenage pregnancy
10 Peer Pressure Alcohol Teenage parenting
11 Respect and self esteem Pregnancy & birth HIV & AIDS
12 Personal safety   Grief
13 Smoking    
14 Puberty