Teaching & Learning with Care & Respect where every person Matters.
Our Mission Statement is based on the following Core Values:
- Education is a partnership between college, parents, and students with the support of the local community.
- Our central purpose is to motivate and prepare students to achieve their full potential.
- The importance and value of all members of the college community is central to all decisions and actions. Courtesy and respect should be shown to all people at all times.
- Our college strives to provide a welcoming, secure learning environment, which is respectful, caring and stimulating for all members of the college community.
- The college is committed to the health and safety of its community and will take action to safeguard their Wellbeing.
- The college acknowledges the importance of its pastoral role in the welfare of young people, and through the general ethos of the college, will seek to persuade pupils in need or support to come forward. This One-to-One – Teaching & Counselling Policy applies to the entire college community including teachers, SNA’s, college staff, students, parents/guardians.
Counselling & Student Appointment Procedures:
The counselling service in the college is based on empowering students to make effective decisions, solve problems, address their behaviours, develop coping strategies and resolve difficulties they may be experiencing. These types of situations may be resolved using:
- Personal Counselling
- Educational Counselling
- Career Counselling
Counselling is a key element of the college guidance programme and each student is entitled to “adequate guidance” under the Education Act 1998.
The Guidance Counsellor, Student Support Team, Home College Community Liaison Teacher, Year Heads, Class Tutors, Behaviour for Learning Programme Teacher and the College Completion Programme play a central role in the delivery of the Counselling Programme.
In order for counselling to be established with a student, there is a protocol to be followed. Students must present their counselling slip/note in journal to their class teacher before leaving class. If a student needs extra counselling appointments this will be arranged.
Counselling can only take place if the student is willing to participate and after an initial referral, it is always the student’s choice whether or not they wish to continue. At all times it is the policy of the Guidance Service to respect and value a student who is receiving counselling and to provide the student with a safe, accepting atmosphere where they feel listened to and understood.
Personal Counselling Appointments:
Personal Counselling appointments with the Guidance Counsellor can be for a variety of reasons:
- A member of staff may be concerned about a student and refer the student to the Care Team. The Care Team then refer the student to the Guidance Counsellor.
- A member of staff may be concerned about a student and refer the student directly to the Guidance Counsellor
- Parent/Guardian may be concerned about their son/daughter or may need some intervention by the Guidance Counsellor.
- A student may want to self-refer himself or herself.
- Students may refer another student to the Guidance service
A Guidance Referral system is in place.
Reasons for Counselling:
There are many possible reasons as to why a student may need counselling/interventions, these may include:
- Personal difficulty
- Coping skills
- Making choices
- Relationship problems
- Family Matters
- Self Esteem
- Bullying issues
- Suicidal Thoughts
Personal counselling appointments with the Guidance Counsellor are arranged as soon as possible, following referral or request for appointment.
A referral may also be made to the care team or outside agencies. Outside agencies include Family GP, FDYS, SCP, “Its good to talk”,, NEPS, CAMHS , TULSA, Rainbows, Counsellors funded by SCP.
Educational appointments can be made by the student themselves or the Guidance Counsellor can make them. Career appointments could typically involve:
- To get Interest Test or Aptitude Test results back and to analyse them to see what is suitable for the student regarding their career.
- To give students information regarding college requirements and what subjects/levels/grades/points are required for their chosen career.
- CAO/UCAS information regarding students applying for 3rd level education in Ireland or the UK
- To discuss with students about particular jobs and what is involved in that profession.
- To give students information regarding grants, scholarships and access programmes and to assist with the application processes
- To discuss possible future options after the Leaving Certificate.
Referrals & Student Appointment System:
There are two types of referral processes:
- Referrals made to the Guidance Counsellor:
These are referrals made by the care team and parents who feel some intervention is needed by the Guidance Counsellor. It is vital to remember that voluntary participation in counselling of the referred student must be respected by all concerned.
- Referral made by the Guidance Counsellor:
If the Guidance Counsellor feels that an individual student needs extra support outside of college by other qualified agencies, the college through the Principal/Student Support Team/HSCL will facilitate/advise on access to the provision of such assistance following the agreed procedures with the college, parents and local agencies.
Ethical Considerations and Accountability:
The Guidance Counselling Service is subject to all relevant legal requirements, to the provisions of the 1998 Education Act, to Department of Education and Skills Directives, to the college’s mission statement and the college plan. The Guidance Counsellor, like all other members of staff in the college, is entrusted with the care of their students in ‘loco parentis’ and accepts the responsibilities of this position, keeping the students welfare to the forefront at all times. The Guidance Counsellor and those involved in Guidance provision are constantly aware of their responsibility to the student, to the college, to their profession, to themselves and to the implementation of this policy.
At all times Reporting Procedures are in line with Child Protection Policy of the College. Child Protection concerns are immediately referred to the DLP or in her absence the DDLP.
The Guidance Counsellor will refer students to other professionals when ethically or legally required to do so.
At the beginning of the each counselling session, the student is informed of the limits of confidentiality, i.e. what will be discussed will be kept in confidence unless the student is in danger from others or may be in danger to himself/herself or to others. It is also explained to students that there is a legal requirement to refer the student to the necessary people so to best deal with the situation. As the referral system can in some cases take time to be put into place, the Guidance Counsellor will continue to offer the student on-going support while the student is awaiting specialist help. Once the student becomes engaged in the outside support services, the Guidance Counsellor will continue to meet with the student and offer support to them but will not engage in counselling sessions if the student is attending counselling sessions offered by outside agencies. When the student has completed their sessions with the outside agency they may then opt to resume/begin on-going counselling/support with the Guidance counsellor if it is deemed necessary.
In cases where a referral has been made to an outside agency, parental permission must be sought apart from exceptional circumstances such as physical/sexual/neglect abuse by a member of the family where the TUSLA Guidelines are followed.
The procedure followed when a referral is made to an outside agency:
- The Care Team/DLP (as appropriate) makes contact with the parent/guardian to inform them of the situation.
- The DLP may inform the parent/guardian that a Child Protection Form has or will be sent to the Principal Social Worker depending on the nature of the matter.
- Parents may be advised to bring their son/daughter to their family doctor immediately if there is a concern that the child is a danger to self or others and a letter of fitness to attend college is required for the child to return to college.
- In some circumstances the parent may ask the Care Team to arrange support and from time to time counselling sessions are facilitated in the college
It is vital that the relationship between the student and the Guidance Counsellor is built on trust and on a professional basis. The Guidance Counsellor will take all reasonable measures to ensure that consultation with students take place in an appropriate and private environment.
The Guidance Counsellor takes all reasonable steps to preserve the confidentiality of information about students. The Guidance Counsellor should inform the student about the limits of confidentiality. The student should be assured of the Guidance Counsellor’s professional discretion in dealing with their personal issues. Disclosures of information to an appropriate third party may be made where it is deemed necessary, for example:
- To protect the interests of the student
- Where the student is in danger
- To protect the interests of society
- To safeguard the welfare of another student
- Where the student is a danger to another student
- Where the Guidance Counsellor is required to by law
- For the purpose of professional consultation or supervision
The Guidance Counsellor discusses information about students only for professional purposes and only with those who are clearly entitled to be consulted. Information is managed in a respectful, professional and purposeful manner. Disclosure is only made to those who the Guidance Counsellor believes should know or by law is entitled to know.
The Guidance Counsellor takes all reasonable steps to ensure that students give consent to investigating their issue.
Protocol for Meeting with Students:
A note is place in the student’s journal for all types of appointments, which state the students name, appointment day, date and time as well as the name of the Guidance Counsellor. The teacher releasing the student from class signs the student’s journal indicating permission is granted.
Protocol for Meeting with Parents:
Parents/Guardians are welcome to contact the Guidance Counsellor by phone or by making an appointment. This facility is outlined to Parents/Guardians. The Guidance Counsellor is available at the parent teacher meetings throughout the year. Where the Guidance Counsellor needs to contact a parent/guardian, permission of the student is usually granted beforehand.
One-to-One Guidelines: Meetings/Teaching with Students.
Our college recognises that the protection and welfare of our students is of paramount importance, regardless of all other considerations. For this reason, we adopt a safe practice to minimise the possibility of harm occurring in the college and to protect our college staff from taking unnecessary risks, that may lead themselves open to accusations. Staff are responsible for being familiar with the college’s safeguarding statement. Every effort is made to ensure the protection of students and staff.
For one-to-one meetings, it is crucial that clear boundaries are put in place. The physical environment is important. The seating arrangement should be carefully considered, so that the exit is readily accessible to all present. For students who receive one-to-one resource teaching/counselling etc, rooms should have a glass panel in the door, thus rendering the occupants visible always. If there is no glass panel it is advised to leave the door open and to be on view to the corridor.
Where possible, staff should meet students during college hours. If staff meet students out of college hours, the door should always be left open and another student/member of staff should be present. Where possible, the student and teacher should be visible from the corridor in public view.
One-to-One teaching may occur between students and Special Education Teachers along with work carried out by Special Needs Assistants. The work of an SNA is carried out in a classroom and/or an open environment under the direction of a teacher. From time to time, outside professionals may be required to meet with/assess students in a one-to-one setting. This includes visits from external agencies such as NCSE, NEPS, SEC, TUSLA etc. All personnel working with children on a one-to-one basis must be Garda Vetted.
Teachers have a responsibility to inform students of the extent and limitations of confidentiality with respect to the colleges policies and safeguarding of the Wellbeing of the student. Students should be informed of the limits of confidentiality where information
about them may need to be shared. If issues of safety override those of confidentiality and a concern around child protection arises, the concern will be discussed with the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) as a matter of urgency. If the DLP is not on the college premises, then the Deputy Designated Liaison Person (DDLP) will be consulted. The DLP/DDLP will inform parents of any child protection issues, if appropriate to do so, in line with Child Protection procedures.
All written records are kept in a locked filing cabinet in an office. When making or keeping records, care should be taken to distinguish between fact, observation and opinion and, to include only such information as is required for the purpose of professional involvement with the student. Where a decision is made, the basis for the decision is noted. Statutory and data protection responsibility with regard to records applies to all media, whether written, hardcopy, electronic or digitally recorded. For SEN students, all student support files are recorded and stored in accordance with the SEN Policy.