Holy Family Secondary School
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Guidance and Counselling

Holy Family Secondary School

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Definition of Guidance

Guidance Counselling in Holy Family Secondary School refers to a range of learning experiences, provided in a developmental sequence, which assist pupils to develop self-management skills which will lead to effective choices and decisions about their lives. 

Guidance Counselling is an interactive learning process between counsellor and student, which approaches, in a holistic way, personal, educational and/or vocational issues. The availability of a counselling service can support individual students inside/outside the classroom context, the pastoral and the disciplinary structures in the school.

It is essential that a counselling service within the school operates in collaboration with processes within the school, which promotes the wellbeing of the school, particularly pastoral and disciplinary teams. Working within the requirements of The Institute of Guidance Counsellors Code of Ethics for legitimate practice, ensures that the service is properly supervised and monitored so that the student needs are placed at the centre of all considerations and interventions.

The Guidance Counsellor, along with designated colleagues in student support i.e. SPHE, Religion, Year Heads, Class Tutors, Well-being co-ordinator, Senior Management Team & TY co-ordinator facilitate and engage in developmental programmes designed to enhance personal/social skills, self-awareness, decision-making skills, planning and promotion of wellbeing.

In the area of educational development, programmes include subject/level choices, motivation and learning and study skills/exam techniques. In vocational development the programmes create employment opportunity and sector awareness. Educational pathways and training courses at all relevant levels of the QQI are presented in class.

Information is also an essential remit within the role of the Guidance Counsellor. As such, the gathering, organisation and dissemination are all key aspects of her day to day. The ultimate goal of the above is to provide as much information as possible on the widest range of options open to the student.

It is the holistic approach to each student’s development that is the key to the success of Guidance Counselling at Holy Family Secondary School. This is achieved through timetabled lessons and one-to-one interventions.


The Guidance and Counselling service in Holy Family Secondary School strives to foster a holistic approach to meet the guidance needs of our students and staff within the context of our mission statement. Through facilitating the effective delivery of Guidance we aim to:

  • Assist and support our students in a meaningful way with their personal and educational development
  • Develop self- awareness and self-confidence in our students to think for themselves and to develop the necessary skills to make informed choices and decisions (subjects, courses, career paths, personal etc.)
  • Stimulate our students to develop a proactive approach to their learning and to advance the full range of their abilities so as to pursue their studies at the highest level having due regard to their own individual abilities and interests
  • Be available as a support for students and staff and to adopt an "open door" policy in relation to meeting with pupils, teachers, parents and management. Specific time periods will be set aside for appointments in the timetable for this purpose. Priority will be given to pupils who appear to be in crisis
  • Strive to provide a broad, diverse curriculum which is relevant to the needs of our student body
  • Promote a mutually respectful environment in the school to enable the success of our goals

The School Guidance and Counselling plan endeavours at all times to make the guidance:

  • Accessible to all students in Holy Family Secondary School
  • As responsive as possible to concerns expressed by staff colleagues
  • Impartial
  • Inclusive
  • Informed
  • Confidential in nature
  • Expressive of the ethos of Holy Family Secondary School

Guidance Links with other Personnel and Parents

The holistic development of the pupil is at the core of the Guidance service and with Guidance as a whole school approach the primary resource which the Guidance Service relies on is the expertise and professionalism of the school staff. Guidance Counsellors also welcome contact with parents and  are available to meet with parents by appointment to discuss student issues. Guidance Counsellors also meet with parents at Information meetings for all year groups at commencement of school year and at all annual parent-teacher meetings. Guidance counsellors meet with 6th year parents at the information meetings on CAO and Transition to College and meet with Transition Year parents at Subject Choice information meeting.


Guidance & Counselling in Holy Family Secondary School is provided by professionally qualified staff who abide by the code of ethics and confidentiality policy as outlined by the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC).
Students who access personal counselling are assured of confidentiality in their dealings with Guidance Counsellors at Holy Family Secondary School. However Limits of Confidentiality exist in certain circumstances where the Guidance Counsellor believes there is serious risk of harm or danger to the welfare of the student or another individual. The issue of confidentiality is discussed with students during the first personal counselling session and the counsellor outlines for the pupil the potential situations in which confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and that information of this nature would have to be referred on to appropriate personnel.

The primary focus is the welfare of pupils and the Guidance Counsellor is ethically bound to act in the best interest of the pupil within the law and within the ethical guidelines as outlined by IGC.

In all circumstances it is good practice for the Guidance Counsellor to be mindful when discussing students with other staff members only to refer to necessary information regarding students that is relevant and pertinent to their situations.
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