What is Guidance & Counselling? Guidance is a service provided in schools by guidance counsellors in the areas of Career Guidance, Educational Guidance and Personal Guidance (or Counselling).
What is a guidance counsellor? A guidance counsellor offers guidance and advice, helps you make important decisions around change in your life, listens to your worries and concerns, and provides counselling.
What exactly do we do? As outlined above, guidance includes the following three areas:
Educational Guidance – this includes giving students advice and help on things like choosing First Year subjects, deciding whether to do Transition Year, choosing higher or ordinary level in the Junior Certificate and / or Leaving Certificate. Guidance counsellors also help students who are having particular difficulties with studying and/or exam preparation, or who are worried about exams.
Career Guidance – this includes helping students decide on a career / a job / a college / a course. Students do not usually need to have career guidance appointments until Senior Cycle. Career guidance appointments are available for students on request. Guidance counsellors will help you choose the right career, college course or training course. They may conduct tests such as career interest inventories to help you decide on your future. Note the word 'help’ is underlined; we do not make career decisions for you, you will always be responsible for making the final decisions yourself.
Personal Guidance (Counselling) – Guidance counsellors are specially trained in listening techniques and counselling. We can help students see problems from a different perspective. Students can talk to us about any personal difficulties that they might be having at home, with friends, with your parents, at school or socially. We can help you if you are experiencing bullying, if you have problems settling in to your class, or if you are worried about friends or family members, etc. We will also listen to you if you are feeling down or depressed, or if there is anything you would like to get 'off your chest' or get advice on. We guarantee that we will not disclose to anyone else, anything told to us in confidence, unless the students tells us about something illegal, or dangerous, or something that could be harmful to the student or to others.
So overall, we might give advice, we might give our opinion, we will listen to you, and we will help you to think about things in a different way. We do not tell you what to do. You make the final decision.
Who are the guidance counsellors? There are three guidance counsellors in the school - Liam Harkin, Roisin Diver and Angela McLaughlin. Each guidance counsellor has responsibility for students in different classes. To find out which guidance counsellor has been appointed to each class the students can check the posters on the guidance counsellors’ doors. They can also be contacted through the school reception at 074 937 4260.
When can you come and see us? Just come to our offices anytime and book an appointment. From September until the end of January, we are always very busy with Sixth Years applying to college, so if you want to guarantee an appointment with one of us, you should come and see us as early as possible in the week and if at all possible on a Monday morning. Booking appointments early in the week is vital.
Where are we? Our offices can be found just off the mall, between the First and Second Corridors, our names are on our doors.
Which one of us? You can talk to any one of us with whom you feel comfortable. However if possible, we would like you to go to the guidance counsellor who is nominated for your class.
Who else could you talk to? If you wish, you may also talk to anyone else in the school with whom you feel comfortable, for example - a subject teacher, a classroom assistant, a student on the Student Council, your class teacher, your year head, the School Chaplain (Mrs. Serena Doherty), the school principal, the deputy principals, the Home School Community Liaison Coordinator (Marie -Therese Doherty), etc.
What services are provided to students by guidance counsellors? The guidance counsellors provide a comprehensive guidance service to students in the school as follows:
How we help Sixth Class Primary School Students The Guidance Department has produced a booklet to assist incoming first year students choose their subjects in Carndonagh Community School: • The booklet outlines the content of the optional subjects available in Carndonagh Community School. • The booklet looks at the kind of student each subject would be suitable for, the type of homework involved, whether it is an essential or optional subject for any careers, etc. • The booklet is usually distributed to the parents of incoming pupils on the Open Night in late January of each year. • Primary school principals are informed of the booklet and are encouraged to use it in their schools. • If students are having particular difficulties choosing subjects for first year, the guidance counsellors can be contacted for advice.
How we help First Years • The guidance counsellors provide a counselling service for first year students who need it. • The guidance counsellors visit all First Year classes early in the first term to introduce themselves, explain what the guidance service is, and how the students can make an appointment. • Teachers, parents, class teachers and year heads may refer students to the guidance counsellors for personal counselling on an individual basis. • To find out which guidance counsellor has been appointed to a class for career and educational guidance, please check the poster on the guidance counsellor's door. • First Year students may come themselves for personal guidance (counselling) at any stage of the year, ideally to the guidance counsellor nominated for their class.
How we help Second Years • Teachers, parents, class teachers and year heads may refer students to the chaplain for personal counselling on an individual basis. • To find out which guidance counsellor has been appointed to a class for career and educational guidance, please check the poster on the guidance counsellor's door. • Second Year students who saw a guidance counsellor for counselling during First Year may continue seeing that guidance counsellor if they wish.
How we help Third Years • Educational and career guidance commences with the process of Subject Choice for the Leaving Certificate. • There is a series of 3 Information Evenings for parents and students in February and March, on the various options for Senior Cycle: - Choosing the Leaving Cert Established or LCVP - Choosing Transition Year - Choosing LCA (Leaving Certificate Applied) • During the months of February and March, the guidance counsellors visit all Third Year classes for four or five class periods to explain the three options in greater detail, to answer any questions from students and to clear up confusion. • During this period, students (and/or their parents) are welcome to come and see the guidance counsellors individually if they have particular questions or difficulties with subject choice. • A three-hour workshop is held in the Aras to help all Third Years who are moving directly to Fifth Year make informed subject choices for the Leaving Certificate.
• To find out which guidance counsellor has been appointed to a class for career and educational guidance, please check the poster on the guidance counsellor's door. • Third Year Students may come for personal guidance (counselling) at any stage of the year to any guidance counsellor.
• Individual appointments are offered to students before they make their subject choices
How we help Transition Years • There is a six-week guidance module in TY. Depending on the time of year, the focus of this class will be different. For instance, subject choice for Leaving Certificate is covered in the period between January and Easter. • A three-hour workshop is held in the Aras to help all TYs make informed subject choices for the Leaving Certificate. • Individual appointments are offered to students before they make their subject choices • Transition Year students may come for personal guidance at any stage of the year, with any of the guidance counsellors.
How we help Fifth Years • All Fifth Years and LCA students have timetabled career guidance classes. These comprise completion of online career interest tests, paper interest inventories, a comprehensive research project where they research a career of their choice and a wide range of other classroom-based activities. • At the end of Fifth Year, during April and May, the students are encouraged to come for individual guidance appointments with the guidance counsellors. • Fifth Year students are invited to attend the UCAS Convention in Belfast and the Donegal Careers Day in Ballybofey, the LYIT Taster Days and Open Days in DCU, NUI Galway and Maynooth University • To find out which guidance counsellor has been appointed to a class, please check the poster on the guidance counsellor's door. • Fifth Year Students may come for personal guidance at any stage of the year.
How we help Sixth Years • Students can avail of a maximum of eight career and educational guidance appointments per term. Students keep a record of classes missed in a special section in their journals in order that no subject is disrupted more than once per term. There is no limit to the number of personal guidance appointments. • Sixth Years have one guidance class per week.
• There are also guidance talks for Sixth Year parents on Applying to College - UCAS, CAO, PLC, Third Level Grant Applications, the HEAR Access Programme, etc.
• All material from the guidance classes, is also posted in Google Classroom so students and parents to access at home. • We invite the most popular universities and colleges amongst our students to the school annually to give presentations to the students, including LYIT, IT Sligo, NWRC, Maynooth University, NUI Galway and DCU. • Regular guidance emails are sent out to students, giving details of college open days, closing dates, upcoming school talks, etc. • A guidance blog for sixth years is updated regularly • A guidance Facebook page mainly directed at parents and guardians is also updated regularly • Students should only go to the guidance counsellor appointed to their class for career and educational guidance. To find out which guidance counsellor has been appointed to a class, please check the poster on the guidance counsellor's door. • Sixth Year students may go to any of the guidance counsellors for personal guidance (counselling).