Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, H18 W897

+353 (0) 47 72344



Mission Statement

Coláiste Oiriall believes that pupils do their best in an environment where respect for all is clearly highlighted.  Each student is treated as an individual with his/her own unique talents.  High standards of work, good behavior, self-respect and respect for all are demanded in the school.  The respect for the individual is evident in the holistic approach of the Guidance Plan which is student-centred. It aims to increase self-respect and life skills as well as developing students’ academic, personal and emotional abilities, enabling them to reach a higher level of independence.

The Coláiste Oiriall Guidance Plan is a structured document which describes the school guidance programme and outlines how students’ needs are met. Reference is made to the one-on-one counselling which is central to this work.


Section 9 (c) of the 1998 Education Act requires that “students have access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices”.  It is a statutory requirement of this Act that guidance be provided.


The Act refers to access to school resources and appropriate guidance (i.e. a whole school response geared towards the guidance requirements of all its students.) Guidance is a central requirement in the whole school programme and therefore it must be central to the school plan. The Guidance Plan will be clearly related to the school ethos and mission statement.

Guidance in School

Guidance Counselling, career guidance and personal counselling all refer to a learning experience, which is provided developmentally over time, and is devised to assist students in making life choices and in determining and following their chosen pathway.  These choices may be divided into three categories, which are inter-related:   

  • Personal and Social
  • Educational
  • Vocational/Careers

The following guidance activities are included which help students to make informed choices: 

  • Personal guidance
  • Assessment which uses symmetric instruments and indexes eg. DATS
  • Information on careers (class interview, attendance at career events such as the Higher Options Conference)
  • Use of Information Technology such as Qualifax and Careers Portal
  • Personal and Social Development Programs

An integral part of the Coláiste Oiriall career guidance programme is the counselling that we provide for each student as part of the developmental learning process and especially at times when the student may be experiencing a personal crisis.  This counselling is provided on an individual or group basis.  It may include personal counselling, educational counselling and career counselling or a mixture of all three.


 The aims of the Guidance and Counselling Department in Coláiste Oiriall provide for the personal and social, educational and vocational development of the students in Coláiste Oiriall.  It aims also to give a professional response to 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.  Below is an outline of the aims:

  • Provision of a framework for the delivery of the counselling program.
  • A structured response which addresses the personal, social, educational and vocational needs of the student.
  • A plan of comprehensive educational provision for junior and senior cycles, minority groups and students with special educational needs.
  • All counselling activities will be included in the plan: class sessions, career guidance interviews, attendance at career shows, open days, meeting with school management and support agencies.


  • To enable students to recognize and develop their own talents and abilities
  • To identify and follow up on possibilities and opportunities
  • To enable students to become independent and responsible for their own actions
  • To enable students to make informed decisions and to follow these up

Role of the Coordinator

The Careers Guidance Coordinator is responsible for delivering a comprehensive Guidance programme, but in order to meet this objective a whole-school approach is necessary.  An integrated approach is key to the Guidance provision in order to ensure “that students will have access to appropriate guidance” as required by Section 9 (c) of the Education Act (1998). Guidance planning will reflect and highlight all students’ needs as well as the resources available.  

The Guidance Counsellor participates in and co-ordinates the school guidance and counseling in the overall context of a whole school approach. Students are welcome to request an appointment with the Guidance Counsellor subject to the time resources available. The Guidance Counsellor will have classes free from classroom duties to facilitate these meetings. Students are given appointment times in writing on a School Appointment slip. This slip is then given to the teacher from whose class the student is to be released. Other teachers will also make themselves available to talk to students.

Curricular Guidance

  • Formal Guidance

Various methodologies are employed to deliver the formal curriculum in two specific ways: one on one contact such as personal and career guidance counselling and classroom guidance on a regular basis – a weekly class/module or team teaching or class group or an intervention with a year group as the situation demands.

  • Informal Guidance

The informal programme involves contact with other staff members to develop cross-curricular links and to develop the whole-school policy in order to improve the delivery of the guidance plan.  Meetings with parents is an element of the informal guidance programme.

Range of Resources

  • Staff
  • Materials e.g. REACH
  • Resources e.g. computer suite
  • External e.g. guest-speakers, Higher Options Conference

Materials, Resources and External Activities

Coláiste Oiriall has a careers library with up to date prospectuses for Ireland and the UK and publications readily available to pupils relating to the whole area of careers. All books may be taken out on loan through the school library system and the same rules will apply.  The library will also contain and provide a careers video library for students to avail of.

Textbooks such as ‘Amach Anseo’, Information Technology, and use of internet sites such as REACH and Qualifax

School Resources: Careers Guidance Office, Computer Lab, Display/Notice Boards, Laptops. External: Open Days, Careers Shows, Careers Information Sessions, Guest-speakers, past pupils and parents.
Each senior student has one timetabled class of Careers Guidance every week in Coláiste Oiriall 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 options 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. All teachers may have an input into this aspect of the Career Guidance service.

Career Guidance Provision for Senior Classes

The Guidance Counsellor, in conjunction with the school management, 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’ notice board, invites relevant speakers to address the students, prepares students for interviews and work experience and delivers a Study Skills programme.

Coláiste Oiriall will carry out psychological and educational standardised testing (including psychometric testing) which provides information useful in predicting academic and occupational performance. Students will undergo various different standardised tests and these results may be discussed on an individual basis with students and their parents if deemed necessary.

Management and the entire teaching staff will support the Career Guidance service. Class Tutors, Year Heads, the Learning Support Teacher and the Health Education Teacher will have particular roles.  It is the duty of every staff member in Coláiste Oiriall to complement the Career Guidance service for the students.

Aims of Careers’ Guidance

  • Study skills, time management, undertaking exams, choosing subjects and levels and doing out a study plan with them.
  • Conducting an audit of students’ interests and skills through e.g. Centigrade, Qualifax and Careers Portal.
  • Carry out an assessment to help students develop a clearer self-knowledge by using psychological tests and other instruments.
  • Bringing in guest speakers.
  • Investigating and exploring different career options.
  • Preparing students for work experience, work observation.
  • Observing past students and how they pursue different pathways and objectives.
  • Informing students about CAO, UCAS, PLC courses etc, training opportunities and various careers and jobs.
  • Putting together a C.V.
  • Covering interview skills.


Wellbeing is about young people feeling confident, happy, healthy and connected.

Wellbeing is one of the principles that underpins junior cycle education. It is reflected in a number of the statements of learning. In Coláiste Oiriall guidance provision is also included in our Wellbeing programme.

Career Guidance Provision for the Junior Cycle

Newly registered students undergo an entrance exam and attend an induction day.  An information meeting is conducted for parents of First Year students. This includes a powerpoint presentation and at the end all parents are furnished with a hard copy of the same. A copy is forwarded home to all families who were absent from the meeting.  All teachers, especially the SPHE staff, provide advice and guidance to first year students in relation to learning and study.  Students are given the opportunity to sample optional subjects for nine weeks up until Halloween.  This ensures that all students have the opportunity of studying each optional subject for three weeks to get a taste of what it involves.

The Careers’ Guidance Teacher meets First Year students twice during the year and delivers a Powerpoint presentation to help them make their Junior Cycle subject choices. Each student is given a hard copy of the powerpoint presentation at the end.  He/she will meet students individually if they are experiencing difficulties in making their mind up.  A bilingual booklet is sent home with students to parents informing them of what is to be learned, the layout of the syllabus and the assessment system in place as well as a letter of explanation from the Careers Guidance teacher. A standard interview is conducted with each First Year student before Halloween to ascertain if they are settling in sufficiently

Second and Third Year students partake in formal Study Skills’ workshops in September of each year. They work through a powerpoint presentation and each student is provided with a hard copy of the presentation at the end of the session.  There are regular lessons on dealing with stress, pressure, mental health, healthy food and lifestyles, physical activity and personal organisation and planning in Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) classes.  SPHE staff discuss any issues, which may arise in these classes with the Career Guidance teacher on a regular basis.

The Careers Guidance Teacher takes the junior classes from time to time, especially the Third Year students as they undertake state examinations, and speaks to them about learning, study and exams in general.  Junior and senior students may make an appointment to meet the Careers Guidance teacher, from time to time, if there is anything particular that is of concern to them. They are informed that this service is available on request within the school.

An Information Night is organised for parents of Third Year students around the layout and the content of the Transition Year programme.  They are given a powerpoint presentation and at the end all parents are furnished with a hard copy of the same. A copy is forwarded home to all families who were absent from the meeting.  A similar powerpoint presentation is given to Third Year students around the same time and each student is provided with a hard copy of the presentation at the end of the session.

Programme for Junior Cycle

This programme covers various aspects of school life including:

  • assisting students in transition from primary to secondary school
  • informing students of the various dangers in life
  • pointing out to students the rules and policies in place in school and the support services available
  • explaining the timetable, effective time-tabling, the school diary and organisation skills.
  • how to make the proper decisions, the importance of pastimes, recognising one’s own feelings and respecting the feelings of others
  • safety at school, on the road and on the schoolbus
  • study skills and how to take notes and main points from a text
  • how to cope with peer pressure and how to make proper decisions
  • positive behaviour and how to treat others
  • health, free time and taking breaks from study
  • self-management, managing/ handling pressure
  • substance misuse, influence from others and ways of dealing with this.  


Students may present themselves for personal counselling in Coláiste Oiriall.  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.

The Counsellor provides a confidential service to the students who visit him/her subject to the time resources available. 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 recognise that our Counsellor must be proactive around issues that students continue to present with: bullying, cyberbullying, depression, suicidal tendencies, family dysfunction, competitiveness, social exclusion, scholastic under-achievement, abuse, identity-based bullying, peer pressure, substance misuse and racial abuse are some of the problems which can be assisted with through 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 Counselors’ 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.

Aims of Personal and Social Counselling

  • To ensure the provision of a confidential non-judgemental listening service for students.
  • To provide advice and guidance to students on dealing with distressing and/or deeply emotional issues.
  • To develop students’ self-esteem and skills of self-assertion.
  • To provide the information and the skills necessary for the student’s personal and social development, self knowledge, decision-making and planning.
  • To investigate with students the skills they will need for dealing with difficulties, worries, and management of time and study.
  • To provide appropriate support to pupils who are experiencing difficluties.
  • To assist students in examining their thoughts, their feelings and the different choices they have to make.
  • To provide care and support to students who are learning how to cope with all the various facets and challenges of growing up in today’s society.


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 HSE, NEPS, Educational Welfare Officer and the Juvenile 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.

Assessment Procedures

Normally assessment is not carried out while advice is being given but at the same time an informal ‘assessment’ can provide a clearer picture of career choice and subject choice, for example, if study skills and exam techniques have improved.  This gives a specific overview of the effectiveness of the Guidance Counsellor.

Rarely is formal homework given. Students fill out an application form before they attend an interview.  Possibly, a career investigation and/or research may be conducted after the interview.

Procedures on Record Keeping

Coláiste Oiriall retains a detailed record of each student who participates in counselling and of the career interviews. We also keep summarised reference records of individual counselling sessions.

  • Students’ records are retained for at least seven years.
  • Some of the words and phrases clients used in the detailed records during personal counselling sessions must also be used in the written records.
  • The Guidance Counsellor seeks to write out their notes as soon as possible after the session to ensure an accurate account is given
  • Notes are kept as brief as possible.


It is procedure to follow the rules of confidentiality in relation to personal counselling and careers interviews i.e. school management, the class tutor, Year Head and/or the parents are informed if it is suspected that the student is in danger (of inflicting self injury) or would put others in danger and also if there are legal requirements. The student is informed at the beginning of the session of the confidentiality procedures and the limits to them. We always adhere to the terms of our Child Protection policy.

Both teachers and parents are informed of any difficulty or problems students might be encountering if it is felt that this would be in the student’s best interest – this is only done when the student is made aware of the decision and it requires his/her permission.

Teachers’ Professional Development

A chartered member of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors must have ten hours training per year (IGC Constitution and Code of Ethics 2004) in order to retain valid membership with the IGC.

In-service training is essential for the work of the Guidance Counsellor.  Coláiste Oiriall facilitates regular attendance at IGC meetings and counselling supervision without major disruption to the school timetable. A range of in-service training is provided at the IGC Annual General Meeting – including workshops and presentations on ongoing areas being developed. Further in-service training is organised both locally and throughout the country and each currently registered member may avail of this. The Department of Education and Skills support ICG members through the funding of said training.


The Guidance Counsellor conducts an exam with the Transition year students using Differential Aptitude Tests (DATS). The Guidance Counsellor provides feedback on the computer results for the students and assists them in the decision-making process for Leaving Certificate subjects. Parents are invited, by means of making an appointment, to review and discuss the results with the Guidance Counsellor if they so wish.  This duty of carrying out tests for first year students falls to the Learning Support teacher. 

Appointments Procedure

There is a system in place to enable students to set up an appointment for one-on-one counselling/careers interviews which ensures that the guidance program is delivered efficiently and safely. When appointments are being arranged the advisor will speak to the student in question beforehand to ensure minimal interruption to other academic study.

The Guidance Counsellor determines the timetable and it is posted on the Guidance Notice board on the Office door.  Should the student be unable to keep his/her appointment they may swap appointments with another student but the Guidance Counsellor should be informed of this.  Should the Guidance Counsellor be unable to attend an appointment, (s)he will arrange another appointment for the student.

Protocol for Meetings

A parent/guardian may book an appointment for a meeting by phoning the school office. Normally, these appointments take place during school time but if necessary an appointment may be arranged for after school. Parties are requested to contact each other should a meeting have to be postponed.  The Guidance Counsellor may request that another staff member attends the meeting, e.g. Year Head, Subject Teacher or a member of school management. The student is invited to participate at the whole meeting or for some of it, with their parents’ permission. The student has an input into the meeting and this helps develop his/her independence when they see the outcome of a meeting in which they have participated.  The Guidance Counsellor keeps notes of all meetings.

Policies which are related to the Career Guidance and Counselling Plan

  • Polasaí Gaeilge
  • Pastoral Care Policy
  • Code of Behaviour and Discipline
  • Enrolment Policy
  • Relationships and Sexuality Policy
  • Homework Policy
  • Assessment Policy
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Ant-bullying Policy
  • Substance Misuse Policy
  • Social Media Policy

Links to staff and to external agencies

  • Management
  • Year Heads
  • Pastoral Mentors
  • Teaching Staff
  • Pastoral Care team
  • Health Education Teachers
  • Transition Year Coordinator
  • Caretaker
  • Administration Staff
  • Canteen Staff
  • Students, Prefects, Students Council
  • Parents and Parents Committee
  • Past pupils

Outside Agencies

  • NEPS
  • Tulsa
  • Social Work Department
  • Education Welfare Services
  • Employers
  • Central Admissions Offices/Third Level Colleges
  • Fáilte Ireland
  • Further Education Colleges
  • The Community
  • Gardaí
  • Department of Education and Skills
  • State Examinations’ Commission



Year 1 – syllabus

  • Discussion on transition to secondary level, advantages, etc.
  • How to avail of the Guidance services.
  • Decisions on subject choices for Junior Cycle
  • Examination techniques
  • Study skills seminar, organization/study methods/time management

Year 1 – external

  • Information session for parents on how to assist their child in study
  • Information session for parents on Subject choices

Year 3 – syllabus

  • Information session for students on the Transition Year programme

Year 3 – external

  • Study Skills seminar focusing on examinations, revision and time management.
  • Information session for parents on the Transition Year

 Year 4 – syllabus

  • Formal class contact every week
  • Individual sessions by appointment
  • Psychometric testing –
    • Work values
    • Personality
    • Interest assessments
    • Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT)
  • Exploring careers
  • Work Experience
  • Research skills– using the internet, careers library
  • Using a prospectus
  • Preparation for entry into Senior Cycle
  • Choice of subjects for the Senior Cycle

Year 4 – external

  • Information session for parents on choosing Leaving Certificate subjects

Year 5 – syllabus

  • Formal class contact – one class per week
  • Individual sessions by appointment
  • Points System and Entrance requirements
  • ie
  • Hpat
  • UK CAT
  • NFQ
  • Research skills – using the internet
  • Careers planning/investigating careers
  • CAO –
  • UCAS –
  • Preparing a C.V.
  • Interview skills

Year 5 – external

  • Seminar on Study skills
  • Students are advised to attend careers talks/ presentations/ seminars/open days

Year 6 – syllabus

  • Formal class contact – one class per week
  • Appointment and meeting with the Guidance Counselor
  • How to prepare for a careers meeting or for an open day
  • Study skills: revision
  • UCAS: application procedure (September)
  • Filling out application forms
  • CAO: application procedure (November/December)
  • HEAR and DARE
  • SUSI and grants
  • Scholarships
  • Exam techniques
  • Motivation: review of Mock exam results (February)
  • Other choices besides Third Level: information and guest speaker as appropriate
  • Interview techniques
  • Continuing on to Third Level

Year 6 – external

  • Information evening for parents about the CAO and choosing third level courses
  • Study skills seminar
  • Students are advised to attend careers talks/ presentations/ seminars/open day

Oiriall Twitter

Cnoc an Chonnaidh, Muineachán, H18 W897  +353-(0) 47 72344