Guidance and Counselling

Section 9 ( c) of the Education Act 1998 requires schools to provide students with appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices The Act also requires schools to prepare a School Plan which must contain the school guidance programme.  The Guidance and Counselling Service in schools refers to the range of interventions provided to students to enable them to make choices in the key areas of their personal/social lives, educational and career.  The school guidance programme includes the following activities:

  • Counselling
  • Information provision
  • Educational development programmes
  • Personal and social development programmes
  • Assessment

Guidance is defined as the range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence that assists the students to make choices (personal and social, educational and career) about their lives and to make transitions consequent on these choices.

Counselling typically refers to the support provided to students who are experiencing personal difficulties in their lives.  Where these difficulties are of a serious nature, the Guidance Counsellor will seek the assistance of external counselling and other support services.

“Looking at Guidance”, 2009 Report of DES Inspectorate

The National Centre for Guidance in Education has produced comprehensive guidelines on the school guidance programme.  “Planning the School Guidance Programme” is available on the Centre’s website at

Guidance and Counselling Teacher Provision

Department of Education Circular PPT 12/05