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Guidance System in Ireland – Introduction


The following provides an overview of guidance in educational settings in Ireland.  The information sheet begins with an overview of the provision of guidance services in Ireland outlining recent developments in the area.  Each guidance service is then described in tabular format with information on the activities of guidance clients, administrative control, and training and qualifications of practitioners in each setting.

Within educational settings guidance services are based in post-primary schools, higher and further education institutions and through second chance education programmes eg. YOUTHREACH.



Primary – there is no formal guidance provision at primary school level at present. There are elements of guidance in the primary school curriculum, however. The SPHE Programme is one such example: http://www.curriculumonline.ie

In addition, support teachers work in a number of schools which in designated disadvantaged areas. Their role is to support the needs of children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Post-primary – guidance is a universal entitlement as per the Education Act, 1998.  Schools are encouraged to develop a comprehensive guidance plan as part of their overall school development plan, taking into account the needs of students, available resources and contextual factors. A guidance counsellor works in each school with hours ranging from eight per week in small schools (less than 200 students), to approximately two full-time posts in schools with more than 1000 students.  Guidance also forms part of the curriculum in senior cycle through the Transition Year Programme (TYP), Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP).

Non formal/Youthreach– additional resources are allocated to Vocational Education Committees (VECs) for the delivery of guidance, counselling and psychological services to learners in centres for education providing the Youthreach programme.  VECs use this budget to address a spectrum of needs ranging from initial orientation and guidance and vocational information to psychological services. On average these funds allow for a visiting service where each centre receives support of the order of 5 hours per fortnight. Other guidance and counselling functions are delivered by staff within centres.

Further Education – The guidance and counselling provision in this sector is within the VEC system and in community education settings.  The guidance allocation to VECs is the same as for post-primary schools.  In addition information regarding Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses is provided to students by the course tutor.  Information is provided to participants on community education programmes through the course tutor /co-ordinator also.

Third Level – All Universities and Institutes of Technology (IoTs) have career and counselling services available to students.  Career services are based in Career Advisory and Appointments Offices, and counselling services are offered through the Student Counselling Service.

Adult Education – The Adult Educational Guidance Initiative (AEGI) www.ncge.ie/adult_guidance.htm was initiated in 2000 with the aim of providing guidance to adults participating in VTOS, literacy and other adult community education programmes nationwide. The centres throughout the country support adults in guidance and counselling matters.

Youth Information Centres – There are 30 Youth Information Centres (YICs) nationwide managed by a variety of youth organisations.  YICs offer an information service on a wide number of issues including employment matters, local community services and education and training to young people.