The aims of the Guidance and Counselling Department are to provide for the personal, social, educational and vocational development of the students in Coláiste Oiriall and to professionally answer the guidance and counselling needs of our student body. The service is administered by a professionally trained School Guidance Counsellor. The Guidance Counsellor attempts to do this through Educational Guidance and Counselling, Career Guidance and Counselling and personal and social Guidance and Counselling.
The Guidance Counsellor participates in and co-ordinates the school guidance and counselling in the overall context of a whole school approach. Students are free to request an appointment with the Guidance Counsellor. Students are given appointment times in writing on a School Appointment slip. This is then given to the teacher from whose class the student needs to be released.
Senior classes have one timetabled class of Careers Guidance every week and these classes are taught by our Guidance Counsellor. Fourth Year students become informed of the range of Leaving Certificate subjects available to them, content, methodologies and examination layout. Fifth Year students explore the range of third level courses available to them under fifteen broad headings. Interest and differential aptitude tests are carried out to assist the student to choose a career of his/her choice. The Sixth Year programme consists of classes on study skills, career decision-making, explanation of the CAO and UCAS Systems and the Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses.
The Career Guidance teacher organises transport from the school to some College Open Days in which a considerable number of students express an interest, manages the Careers Library and Careers’ noticeboard, invites relevant speakers to address the students, prepares students for interviews and work experience and delivers a Study Skills programme.
The Career Guidance teacher will carry out psychological and educational standardized testing which provides information useful in predicting academic and occupational performance. Students will undergo various different standardized tests and the results may be discussed on an individual basis with students and their parents if deemed necessary.
Students may present themselves for personal counselling. They may be referred by their teachers, Principal, parents and friends. The goal of the Counsellor is to provide a setting whereby the student can present his/her personal issues in a non-threatening and confidential environment. Specific counselling approaches are used to empower the student to find new and more appropriate ways of coping or to work through painful experiences that may be impinging on his/her life.
Guidance Counsellors provide a confidential service to the students who visit them. Students are informed, however, of occasions when that confidentiality may need to be broken, i.e. when the student or another person made known to the Guidance Counsellor is considered to be at personal risk. Appropriate personnel are informed at that time.
We recognize that our Counsellor must be proactive around issues that continue to be presented by students. Bullying, depression, suicidal tendencies, family dysfunction, competitiveness, social exclusion, academic under-achievement, abuse, homophobia, peer pressure, substance misuse and racism are some of the problems which can be assisted with the support of counselling.
Counselling is an interactive learning process between Counsellor and student, whether individual or group, which approaches, in a holistic way, personal, educational and/or vocational issues. Working within the requirements of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors’ Code of Ethics, ensures that Coláiste Oiriall’s Counselling service is properly supervised and monitored so that the students’ needs are prioritised and their rights protected.
Assistance for students may be sought for problems such as learning difficulties, substance abuse, addiction, bereavement and personal crisis from agencies such as the student’s GP, the NEHB, NEPS, Educational Welfare Officer and the Junior Liaison Officer of the Gardaí. Parents must be informed of and permission sought for a referral by our Counsellor to an external agency such as the Health Service Executive or an Educational Psychologist.