NCGE Resources

Post date: Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 11:52

Subject Choice: A Resource for Guidance Counsellors

The Student Resource Sheet, which is designed as a brief guide to students who are in the process of opting for subjects in the Junior Cycle, accompanies this resource page for Guidance Counsellors. A Parents Resource Sheet, based on that for students, is also available.

Clearly, the range of subjects, both compulsory and optional, will depend on the resources of the school and on the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills. Similarly, the timing of students’ decision making in relation to subjects is largely a matter for schools.

The choice of optional subjects prior to first year is discouraged. While schools have different systems in place to enable students’ subject choices, it is assumed here that students will have had an opportunity to study the optional subjects during first year in order that they may make informed choices following careful consideration. Ideally, this will be with your collaboration and with that of their parents or guardians. It is also assumed that optional subjects are chosen prior to the end of first year.

In the longer term, the development of the Framework for Junior Cycle and of the Junior Cycle Profile of Assessment will have a bearing on the subjects and short courses provided by a school. Further information on this is available on the Department website at:

Part of your role, as guidance counsellor, is to provide information to students, in both group settings and on an individual basis. Your role may also be to collaborate with and to inform your colleagues and school management about the implications of the choices made by students and of the processes in place to facilitate those choices. You may find the resource 'Understanding Your Interests', available for download below, useful. This resource can be used to support student learning regarding their interests and aptitudes. The resource can be applied in a classroom setting by presenting to students for completion, followed by discussion of their choces in small groups.

Understanding Your Interests

Students are encouraged to consult parents and important others, such as the guidance counsellor in considering their options.

In brief, it is proposed that, at the level of the Junior Cycle, the primary consideration in choosing a subject is a student’s liking for that subject.
It is also proposed that, in addition to Irish, English and Mathematics, the ‘safe range’ of subjects in Junior Cycle includes an additional language and Science.

For the Senior Cycle, it is proposed that, in addition to liking a subject, students need to consider the entry requirements for their chosen career or course. It is obvious that such consideration takes time for most students and that much information is required. The NCCA website at is an essential resource for this purpose.

Qualifax  and CareersPortal are also very useful in identifying course entry requirements.

The Career State Inventory – Subject Choices may be useful in identifying students in need of support regarding their subject choices. Students identified using the CSI as being dissatisfied in this regard may particularly benefit from the  resources provided above.

CSI - Subject Choices

NCGE acknowledges the contribution of Colum Layton in the development of this resource page.

The CSI is published by the Florida State University Libraries under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives 4.0 license, allowing any reader to copy and distribute the CSI content without permission of the authors or the Florida State University Libraries, provided that the authors of the content are given proper attribution and that the content is not modified in any way.


Post date: Thursday, August 9, 2018 - 11:46

Effective Study: A Resource for Guidance Counsellors

This resource page for guidance counsellors is accompanied by two others: 
one for students and one for parents.

What follows is a checklist based on the items in the student resource sheet. Underlying the student resource sheet are a number of assumptions, namely, that students will:
  • be self-directing and will have made some progress in their studies
  • aspire to the characteristics of the effective and efficient student
  • consult with important people in their lives when in need of help and encouragement
  • have access to a competent guidance counsellor
The parents’ resource page is more general in nature but is also based on the content of the student resource page
The purpose of this resource page is to help guidance counsellors to deal with many of the issues presented by students who wish to improve their study skills and habits. Clearly, while it lists many issues, it provides only a framework on which to explore some of the concerns of students. It does not provide any details or underlying theory about the issues.
Guidance counsellors will be familiar with the many resources in book form, on the internet and in the form of assessment instruments that are available. These should be used to underpin normal guidance practice. Similarly, and importantly, academic research and evidence on areas related to study, such as memory, learning and assessment, are in constant development and such evidence should be the basis of informed practice.
It is clearly stated in the student resource sheet that, in accordance with the concept of appropriate guidance, the guidance counsellor is there to help those who, having tried to study effectively, wish for affirmation, guidance and help in seeking improvement.
Similarly, in the context of the continuum of support promoted by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) and in the context of whole-school guidance, the resource sheet could be used in a variety of settings by the guidance counsellor or by subject teachers, as appropriate. It is envisaged that, for example, it might be used by the guidance counsellor in planning and implementing guidance lessons and in establishing a consistent and coherent approach to study among teaching staff, both in their general approach to study and in advising students about approaches to studying their individual subjects.
On the student resource page, the issues that can help, or hinder, effective study are grouped under the following categories:
When to ask for help ?
While the student resource page is intended to help students to devise their own study plans and routines, some will want to improve the way they study or to seek affirmation and encouragement about their current work. The guidance counsellor is suggested as a person to approach if a student, for example:
  • Has tried to use some of the ideas listed and they don’t seem to work
  • Is confused by the number of possible things that can go wrong
  • Needs further information about any of the ideas listed
  • Needs help in making a start.
  • Needs someone to check that what is being done is effective.
Issues with study may be subject-related for some students. Collaboration by the guidance counsellor with subject teachers in the identification of useful study methods for their subjects might enable teachers to deal with questions from students as they arise. In addition, such collaboration might help teachers to identify students with issues more appropriately dealt with by the guidance counsellor.
Students are encouraged to speak to the guidance counsellor individually or in class groups. It is suggested that the guidance counsellor would welcome in advance some of the questions that students have in mind, in order to help in preparing answers to their particular concerns.


It is suggested that while much information exists about study skills, memory, reading, note taking, etc. in books and on websites such as:, and on the Student Resources section of, students should still turn to the guidance counsellor for help in resolving any issues they might encounter.

NCGE acknowledges the contribution of Colum Layton in the development of this resource page.

Further recommended reading:

'Helping students to concentrate while studying' by Aidan Moran could be read in conjunction with this article.  

It can be found HERE in "Delivering the Guidance Programme" section.



Post date: Monday, February 12, 2018 - 10:25

Data protection for the Guidance Counsellor (GDPR)

The role of the Guidance Counsellor has been an essential element in providing students and job seekers with professional, objective advice on their strengths, abilities and aptitudes.
As such, the role necessarily involves the processing of personal and often highly confidential information regarding people of all ages. In that context, the activities of the Guidance Counsellor must be compliant with the Irish Data Protection legislation.
Introducing a further challenge, in May 2018 the Irish and European Data Protection landscape will change significantly with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation – a new set of data management obligations which will take effect across the European region on the same date.This article and webinar offer a brief overview of the Regulation, as well as setting the day-to-day activities of Guidance Counsellors within that context. We consider the data being used by the Guidance Counsellor, the particular challenges of working with minors, and the differences between those working as employees of schools or colleges, and those operating as self-employed professionals.Throughout, we try to offer pragmatic suggestions on how to manage personal data in a manner that is both accessible and relevant for the professional Guidance Counsellor.

Click below to view the webinar recording.

You can dowload the accompanying article at the end of this page

Post date: Thursday, February 1, 2018 - 19:27

Immigration and Residency in Ireland: An Overview for Education Providers

Ireland has become a very diverse society over the past decade – Census 2016 showed that 180 distinct countries were recorded as a country of origin for non -Irish immigrants in the year to April 2016. The status, rights and entitlements of the diverse student population are complex and this article will provide an overview for guidance counsellors and school management on the rights and entitlements of this diverse student population.
Post date: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 12:08

An introduction to Technology Enhanced Guidance

This webinar recording (from December 2017) with Jannie Meedom Nielsen covers areas such as:
  • why and how to use technology in guidance
  • using ICT tools and Social Media in guidance
  • the Danish Experience
Jannie has worked within  education and guidance counselling for almost 30 years, as a teacher, guidance counsellor and editor of the first Danish web portal containing information on lifelong learning and continuing education. She continues to divide her time between guidance counselling and editing - The Danish Ministry of Education's online guide for adult education programmes, training and the labour market.
Click below to view the webinar recording.
You can dowload the accompanying presentation HERE and at the end of this page

Post date: Monday, November 13, 2017 - 15:54

Education and Training Monitor 2017

The Education and Training Monitor 2017 was prepared by the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC), with contributions from the Directorate-General of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) and the Eurydice Network. DG EAC was assisted by the Education and Youth Policy Analysis Unit from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), Eurostat, Cedefop and the JRC's Human Capital and Employment Unit, Directorate Innovation and Growth. The Members of the Standing Group on Indicators and Benchmarks (SGIB) were consulted during the drafting phase. The manuscript was completed on 15 September 2017. Additional contextual data can be found online (

Post date: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - 15:24

NCGE - A Whole School Guidance Framework

This Framework is intended to be a resource for schools to support the planning, design and delivery of the whole school guidance programme in line with the requirements of The Education Act (1998), that schools provide students with “access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices” (section 9c). A continuum of support model for the school guidance programme, similar to the school support model of the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), is presented in the Framework – guidance for all, guidance for some and guidance for a few.The continuum comprises a whole school approach to guidance through guidance-related learning to individualised supports for students.The Framework identifies three areas of learning to facilitate students’ development in eight areas of competence. The areas of learning include: learning relating to oneself (personal/social development), educational opportunities (educational development) and career decision making (career development).

An additional 'WHEEL' poster resource is available to download in English HERE 

An additional 'WHEEL' poster resource is available to download as Gaeilge HERE 

An additional blank 'WHEEL' poster template resource is available to download HERE

You may wish to adapt the text of the poster for your own school and planning purposes. 

An editable version of the 'WHEEL' poster resource is also available to download. This can be done by editing the text boxes found in the resource HERE 

In November 2018 NCGE launched a suite of online resources for whole school guidance.
These resources are available for all schools to access, use and adapt in exploring whole school guidance in using the NCGE Framework.
NCGE will be providing additional supports to schools in utilising these resources.
To access the current resources click HERE
Post date: Friday, August 25, 2017 - 16:15

Generation Apprenticeship: Accelerating Real-Life Learning

Apprenticeship programmes have traditionally been the path to skilled employment in sectors including construction, engineering, motor and others. The recent review of apprenticeship training in Ireland made recommendations to expand the apprenticeship model.

Apprenticeship training in Ireland has traditionally been the path to skilled occupations in a range of industries and sectors such as construction, engineering, and electrical. Similar to other countries around the world, Ireland is engaged in major expansion of its apprenticeship system. Building on a strong tradition of apprenticeship since the 1970s, the system is undergoing significant transformation, steered by a national Apprenticeship Council. The Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland 2016-2020 includes a target of 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship places to be provided over the next five years. The benefits of apprenticeship training in matching skills formation to the specific needs of companies, the productivity of apprentices as well as recruitment and retention savings are all positive elements with benefits for employers and those seeking to develop careers. Promoting the permeability between vocational educational training and other educational and career pathways is identified as one of the guiding principles for demonstrating the attractiveness of apprenticeships and improved career guidance. 

This article highlights how career guidance is an essential element in improving the attractiveness of apprenticeships empowering young people to make well-founded choices A range of new choices are now available in Insurance Practice, Electrical Engineering, Polymer Processing, Manufacturing Engineering, International Financial Services, ICT, Commis Chef and Accounting with many more on the way.

Helping more people discover and develop their talents through training is at the heart of the national apprenticeship system. Generation Apprenticeship is a major expansion of the apprenticeship system to provide greater choice by building on and extending the range of occupations across existing and new sectors. 

Post date: Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:04

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children

Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children

National Guidance to promote the protection of children from abuse and neglect. It states what organisations need to know to keep children safe, and what different bodies, and the general public should do if they are concerned about a child's safety and welfare.

Post date: Monday, May 29, 2017 - 12:04

Career Guidance. A handbook for Policy Makers

The handbook covers four broad policy themes: Improving career guidance for young people; Improving career guidance for adults; Improving access to career guidance; and Improving the systems that support career guidance.