There are two guidance counsellors in Kinsale Community School, Ms. Deirdre Griffin and Ms. Grace O'Carroll. Both Guidance Counsellors work 11 hours each. Both are fully qualified and are full members of the IGC.


Guidance is regarded as a core element of the school's overall programme. The guidance programme seeks to respond to the needs of the students at all stages of their education in the school.

The objectives of the guidance programme are not only framed by reference to the legislative requirements, but are also referenced by the good practices disseminated by the Institute of Guidance Counsellors and the National Centre for Guidance in Education. Guidance in the school is viewed as a continual developmental process which begins prior to the entry of the student into Kinsale Community School and concludes after the student has left the school.


The aims of guidance include;

  • To provide a framework for the delivery of the school's guidance programme
  • To ensure a structured response is in place to meet the personal, educational, social and career guidance needs of the students
  • To ensure that all students, junior, senior, adult, non-Irish nationals, those with special needs, are catered for and included in the guidance activities of the school.
  • To list major guidance activities, initiatives, interactions and strategies such as year plans, schemes of class plans, vocational guidance interviews, educational guidance interviews, attendance at career exhibitions, meetings with management, interactions with support agencies, personal counselling.

 The objectives of guidance include;

  • To help each student become aware of their talents and abilities and how best to utilise these talents and abilities so as to optimise their engagement with education and to reach their optimum potential
  • To assist each student in the identification and exploration of various educational and career opportunities open to them in both second level and post second level
  • To enable students to grow in independence and to take responsibility for their own selves, their learning and their careers
  • To assist in the provision of information so that students may make informed decisions aware of possible consequences and implications.


Guidance refers to the range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence that assists students to make choices - personal and social, educational, and career - about their lives and which enables them to successfully deal with the transitions which result from such choices. A spectrum of activities and services are provided in order to assist students; counselling, assessment, advice, information, educational development programmes, personal and social development programmes, vocational development programmes and referrals.


There are three main areas in which the guidance counsellor exercises his/her role. The three areas are educational counselling, career counselling and personal counselling. Operating in these areas the guidance counsellor works in conjunction with the students, the parents/guardians, the management of the school, and the staff of the school. Whilst the guidance counsellor has the specific training in educational, career and personal counselling, it is only through a collaborative approach that students experiencing difficulties in any of these areas will be given the necessary support and strategies which will allow them to overcome their difficulties and to optimise their learning.

The role of the guidance counsellor is one which is formative, informative and consultative and encompasses helping to direct and develop students' capacity to become self-directed and independent learners, equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to make informed decisions. Such a role is carried out in consultation with the students' parents/guardians and with other members of staff.

The guidance counsellor has a role in informing school management and staff about the operation of the department, in contributing to the development and evaluation of appropriate programmes, in administering psychometric tests and interpreting their results, in managing information, in administering the guidance department and in liaising with appropriate professionals, bodies, and agencies outside of school. The remit of guidance involves three distinct, yet very much interlinked, areas; personal guidance, educational guidance and career guidance.


Personal guidance is a key part of the school guidance programme. It encompasses relatively brief interventions (from once-off meetings, to meetings ranging over approximately six to ten weeks) with students either on an individual or group basis. Such interactions may be part of the developmental learning processes of students but may also result from students' moments of personal crisis. Personal guidance may include personal counselling, educational counselling, career counselling or a combination of these.

Counselling is available on a referral basis. Students are referred by management, staff, parents, or they may self- refer. During and after counselling the guidance counsellor will consult with teachers and other relevant and concerned parties on a regular basis to monitor progress, to discuss how pupils are coping and to plan for further support.

The guidance counsellors are trained regarding the various developmental stages involved in adolescence and about the plethora of concomitant issues which may arise during this phase of development. The guidance counsellors draw upon different theories of counselling and engage in a counselling approach which is best described as eclectic. The exercise of this role is carried out by the following ways;

  • Publicising to the students and at parents' meetings the role of the guidance counsellor and the counsellor's availability to individual students for consultation at any time, within the framework of guidance hours available
  • Students and parents are free to request a consultation with the counsellor
  • The counsellor also initiates consultations with pupils, teachers and parents when particular circumstances arise indicating that a pupil may be in need ofcounselling on a personal issue, which impinges on their school life
  • The counsellor is consulted by school management and pastoral care personnel on such issues
  • Every student in fifth and sixth year is afforded the opportunity to meet the guidance counsellor on personal and career related matters. Students in first, second and third year are seen by the guidance counselor on a request or referral basis
  • Where and when possible small groups of students may be seen together if they have a common interest, for example a number of students wishing to pursue a specific career or course such as nursing.


The issue of career guidance is one which is especially pertinent at senior cycle and the ways in which the guidance counsellor fulfils this role include:

  • The counsellor delivers class presentations to First Years to assist them choosing their subjects for the Junior Certificate. The guidance counsellor does the same with Fourth Year students prior to them choosing their subjects for the Leaving Cert. Presentations are also made to Third Years on the various options after their Junior Certificate
  • Presentations are made to parents on the issue of subject choice and options. There is a night for First Year parents, a night for Third Year parents, and a night for Fourth Year parents. A presentation is also delivered to parents of Leaving Cert detailing application post Leaving Cert- (CAO, PLC, grants, accomodation etc)
  • Fourth year classes receive one Career Guidance class per week
  • Sixth Year students receive Career Guidance class periodically
  • Follow up meetings and telephone conversations concerning career issues also take place between the guidance counsellor, students and parents as required
  • The guidance counsellor advises and assists students on the completion of UCAS applications to the British third level system
  • Links are sustained with local industries, most notably Eli Lilly, who come in to interview Transition Year students for work experience placements in Eli Lilly. Eli Lilly also sponsor students to attend the summer programme in UL
  • The guidance counsellor also administers DATS (Differential Aptitude Tests) in TY and helps to administer the CAT (Cognitive Ability Test) to incoming first years
  • Organises trips out (UCC and CIT TY Open Days, PLC Open Days, organise speakers in to school, organise cohorts of students to attend various career events, eg. Prep for Med Day, Law Experience Day, etc.)


The ways in which the guidance counsellor fulfils this role include:

  • Liaising with the Principal and Year Heads concerning pupils who require intervention
  • Offering those pupils who require intervention educational counselling with regard to study techniques, educational planning and personal organisation
  • Liaising with Year Heads on the delivery of study skills seminars to various student groups
  • Monitoring and being aware of the delivery of study techniques courses within the Social, Personal and Health Education Curriculum
  • Providing guidance and information to students and parents at appropriate stages in their progress through meetings
  • Being available to pupils who have left the school to offer advice after the Leaving Certificate results have been issued, that is at the beginning of the new school year
  • Liaise with Special Needs and Learning Support departments to identity students requiring further attention.