NCGE Resources

Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 12:58

Supporting and Including Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children in Education

The growing global refugee crisis continued in 2016 with 1.5 million people-seeking asylum in EU Member States. More than quarter of a million of those seeking asylum were children. Globally, only 50 per cent of refugee children have access to primary level education, and fewer than one in four are enrolled in secondary school. We know that above all else children want to go to school. Ireland has committed to accepting 4,000 refugees and to prioritising children as part of this commitment. To date, 840 refugee and asylum-seeking children have arrived in Ireland as part of relocation and resettlement programmes. This is in addition to the 1,420 asylum-seeking children currently living in Direct Provision centres around the country. This article provides a brief overview of the current refugee crisis in Europe; the experiences of child refugees and; subsequent impacts on their lives and education. It examines current issues and challenges for refugee and asylum seeking children in Ireland today and concludes by discussing best practice approaches, which support the inclusion of refugee and asylum seeking children in education settings.

Post date: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 10:04

Dyslexia: How the Guidance Counsellor can support the student with dyslexia

This article looks at how the guidance counsellor can support the student with dyslexia in Irish post-primary schools. It discusses the different ways in which dyslexia may affect the student and suggests screening if a student presents with difficulties. Identification of dyslexic difficulties is made through an educational psychological assessment. Supports such as Reasonable Accommodations in Certificate Examinations (RACE), Disability Route to Education (DARE) and language exemptions are discussed. The guidance counsellor has a key role in helping the student with dyslexia make key decisions such as subject and course choice. These decisions are crucial in helping the student cope and succeed. The article also discusses several dyslexia-friendly whole school policies such as easy-to-read style guide for notes and other documentation, the readability of textbooks, use of assistive technology and study skills for students with dyslexia.

Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:57

The European dimension

The EU Council resolution on better integrating lifelong guidance into lifelong learning strategies, 2008  defines guidance as a continuous process that enablescitizens at any age and at any point in their lives to identify their capacities, competences and interests, to make educational, training and occupational decisions and to manage their life paths in learning, work and other settings where it is possible to acquire and use these capacities and competences. Guidance covers a range of individual and collective activities relating to information giving, counselling,competence assessment, support, and the teaching of decision-making and career management skills.


The European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN) 2008 -2015 was set up and funded by the EU Commission to support Member States to develop  policies for lifelong guidance.

ELGPN published guidelines for Member States

Guidelines for Policies and Systems Development for Lifelong Guidance A REFERENCE FRAMEWORK FOR THE EU AND FOR THE COMMISSION

Strengthening the Quality Assurance and Evidence-Base of Lifelong Guidance

Designing and Implementing Policies Related to Career Management Skills (CMS)


To access more information regarding the EUROPEAN DIMENSION - go to Euroguidance Ireland:

Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:46

The Physical Environment

In designing the physical environment of the Information Centre of the Guidance Service consideration should be given to:

  • clear signposting (both internally and externally);
  • accessible ICT facilities
  • accessibility for clients with disabilities;
  • comfortable and appropriate furniture, such as desks and easy chairs;
  • good lighting and ventilation with a comfortable working temperature;
  • attractive and well maintained appearance;

Clearly displayed information in relation to resources such as:

  • software,
  • media and free literature,
  • photocopying facilities including copyright legislation and assurances on confidentiality and data protection legislation

A  user-friendly library or resource area which has up to date information relevant to target groups and the general public

Space / spaces should be attractive and well equipped

All materials and notice boards on display are in accessible units so that clients can freely browse.

A well-equipped information technology area with workstations, PCs, web access, photocopying and video viewing facilities.

A positive environment which may be achieved through the use of:

  • pictures;
  • photographs;
  • posters;
  • video or sound recording

Group guidance sessions:

To provide a professional guidance service and confidential space for clients to engage with the guidance counsellor, the guidance environment is key.

Group guidance involves individual clients working together with a qualified guidance counsellor facilitating the session.  Often, in a group context, people share quite a lot about their individual experiences, their career aspirations, together with their challenges and achievements.  Therefore, it is very important that the space/environment is conducive to the aims and objectives of the group work

Information and communications technology (ICT)

Guidance Services require access to broadband and appropriate Wifi to ensure provision of onine information to clients.

Guidance services can consider provision of information using E-Guidance, telephone access and social media. In this context guidance services should develop a Social media policy.


When guidance counsellors meet with their clients for ‘one to one’ sessions in an Outreach Centre, the space they work in should:

  • be a dedicated room for the use of the Guidance Service at specific times;
  • be located in a quiet area with no distractions (such as noise);
  • explain the need for privacy without interruptions - consider placing a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door when the room is in use;
  • be a suitable environment - suitably lit, heated and ventilated with adequate seating and ideally, a table;
  • have a cupboard or storage area for the most commonly used materials and resources;
  • have internet access to link in to the guidance counsellor’s laptop;
  • be visible and integrated within the Centre


Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:45

Delivering the Guidance Service

To date the Adult Educational Guidance Services based within the former VECs operated based on the guidelines laid out in the DES Operational Guidelines 2012.

These guidelines stated that the overall aim of the AEGI is:

To offer a guidance service to adults which includes impartial adult education information, one-to-one guidance and group guidance, which will help people to make informed educational, career and life choices.

The AEGI is based on an integrated model of adult educational guidance counselling which is: 

  • inclusive of the pre-entry, entry, ongoing and pre-exit stages
  • is inclusive of personal, educational and vocational guidance;
  • working in partnership at local level, meeting a spectrum of guidance needs of the target groups, employing a range of methodologies including information provision, one-to-one guidance, group guidance and outreach provision;
  • based within the VECs/other managing providers;

Guidance is a key aspect of further education programmes and should be available at all stages including pre-entry and pre-exit on an integrated basis. Under the AEGI, individual AEG Services (AEGS) provide personal, educational and vocational guidance which supports learners to make informed decisions (for example, about course choice and certification if required, progression plans, recognition of prior learning, etc). AEGS provide ongoing guidance which also supports the learner’s motivation to continue with a programme, especially where previous educational experiences may have been negative.

All AEGS should be offered free-of-charge to any person who is in one of the target groups identified.

Guidance provision in an FET Guidance Service is  based on the needs of the clients / adult learners. This provision can take place in the offices / information  centre  of the Guidance service itself or   via outreach to  adult education  / community education / training centres .

We all recognise how important first impressions are and how much we are influenced by the environments we find ourselves in. A guidance environment, which is pleasant and welcoming, will create a positive climate in which to build our relationships with clients. Bright and well organised public spaces, comfortable meeting rooms and well-presented facilities will enhance the image of the Service and demonstrate respect for our clients. Being conscious of safety in our working practices will help ensure protection for our clients and ourselves

Service delivery can include Provision of information  to clients / groups or wider information seminars / exhibitions.


Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:33

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

NCGE designs and organises continuing professional development (CPD)  programmes for guidance staff working in the FET sector.These include guidance co-ordinators, guidance counsellors and guidance information officers and other guidance staff based in FET

NCGE CPD programmes for  FET guidance staff  aims to:-

  • Offer a balance between theory and practice;
  • Provide opportunities to gain, develop and renew skills;
  • Develop effective learning and delivery methods within a lifelong and life-wide context;
  • Provide opportunities to model best practice in delivery and presentation skills;
  • Provide opportunities to actively participate in an encouraging environment;
  • Provide opportunities for practitioners to network and share expertise;
  • Provide a space for reflection on practice;
  • Provide a forum for NCGE and the FET Guidance   Services to develop models of good practice which inform policy.

Provision of CPD

NCGE provides CPD using a blended learning approach with online communication, pre-workshop activities and attendance at workshops .

NCGE provides webinars with national and international experts in guidance providing, which can be attended by FET Guidance practitioners 

Guidance Counselling Supervision

Supervision can be viewed as an integral part of continuing professional development. It provides a mechanism of support for guidance counsellors and can play a key role in 'self-care'. Supervision may take place on a 'one to one' level or in a group context.

There are several  reasons why it is important for guidance counsellors to have regular supervision:-

Ethical requirement – Professional bodies , such as the Institute of Guidance Counsellors and AEGAI strongly recommend supervision as an integral part of the professional practice of members;

The Department of Education and Skills  recognises the role of supervision in ensuring good practive and thus requires guidance counsellors  working  in the AEGI service to attend either individual or group supervision for at least two hours per month;  PLC guidance  counsellors can access supervision through the DES funded guidance counselling supervision programme for  post primary schools.

Supervision helps ensure accountability in relation to guidance counsellor's one to one work with clients;

Self care - It provides support to practitioners in relation to the management of client issues.

Quality assurance - Supervision is a way of monitoring and evaluating our practice so as to maintain the quality and standards of the service we provide;

Supervision can be provided on a one to one or group basis. Supervision must be provided by a supervisor accredited by a suitable organisation.

For example IACP: gives a list of IACP accredited supervisors by geographical location


Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:31

Record keeping and data gathering

The Adult Guidance Management  System is managed by NCGE on behalf of DES and SOLAS.

The SOLAS / NCGE AGMS  database acts as a key tool in providing a quality service to adult guidance clients. 

This AGMS has developed since 2004 with review and consultation with the Adult Educational Guidance Initiative staff and management.

The AGMS provides a confidential  online database to assist client information management  and to support review of and  ensure planning for the guidance service delivery

Due to the confidential nature of the guidance service to clients,  it is only the  guidance staff of the former Adult Education Guidance Services  that  have access to the AGMS for their ETB. Management  have access to the overall statistics and reports available from the data.

Professional practice is supported by the records kept .  

Records should reflect interactions with clients and groups and every session, phone call, meeting and drop-in is important. Both the client’s plan and progression are informed by the records.  Good record keeping facilitates appropriate follow up and referral.

Accurate data supports planning of the guidance service from a local and management level and informs national planning for  FET guidance services

At national level, SOLAS has access to the overall statistics to view the activities involved in the  provision of guidance , number of 1-1 sessions, group sessions, information queries etc.  SOLAS access the data 3 times per year in line with ETB reporting requirements.  This data is collected at End May, End September and End of year .

Guidance Services provide qualitative reports through the AGMS which provide the opportunity for service self -reflection and self-evaluation. The AGMS provides a facility for services to highlight Case Studies and examples of good practice.

These reports are collated by NCGE to provide an Executive overarching report for  DES / SOLAS . 

NCGE makes these reports available via



Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:27

Guidance Service Staff

Staff of the AEGI guidance services in FET are currently employed under the terms and conditions laid out in:

Circular 70/04 and Circular 0015/2007


Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:13

Strategic Guidance Service planning

Strategic planning asks us to consider:

  • where we are now;
  • where we want to go over the next number of years and
  • how we are going to get there.

Strategic planning is really about how an organisation defines its direction and makes decisions about the resources it is going to allocate to achieving its aims.

Strategic planning is a key element of an organisation's effectiveness.  It sets out to ensure that a Service is meeting the needs of its Service users. The guidance plan for an FET Guidance Service must work within the remit of its managing agency e.g. ETB.  It is an intrinsic part of the managing agency’s strategic plan.

As in all other strategic plans, the outlook is for the coming three to five year period. From this larger plan, the Service may wish to develop a one year operational plan. This operational plan can have much more specific goals. Plans should always have some in-built flexibility, in order to take into account any changes that may arise.

The following represent an example of stakeholders, who are likely to be involved in the development of an FET Guidance Service plan:-

  • Adult Educational Guidance Service management and staff;
  • Guidance counsellors and adult guidance information officers;
  • Guidance staff based in the wider ETB
  • Clients;
  • Local partners and other key stakeholders;
  • Appropriate statutory or funding agencies;
  • Course / programme  providers.

Information from stakeholders can be obtained through consultation or surveys or through analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.

Using qualitative and quantitative data as a strategic management tool can provide invaluable information to guide planning as follows:

Quantitative data available from the Adult Guidance Management  System  – AGMS  - which includes

client numbers, referrals, staff time, general public queries

Qualitative data available via the AGMS reports  including : issues and challenges, gaps in provision, best practice, access and social inclusion, networks and outreach, case studies

Client feedback ; conducting client feedback surveys can provide valuable information on client expectations & satisfaction, accessibility of the Service, quality of the resources and  information available, improvements needed etc

CPD needs of staff –  conduct a staff training needs analysis and evaluation of CPD attended.

Communications – consider the communications and processes within the Service, between management/staff/clients


Post date: Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 19:06

Principles of service delivery

A quality guidance service is led by staff with a DES recognised qualification in guidance counselling.

  • The role of the Guidance co-ordinator is to manage and supervise the work of the other guidance  staff.
  • The guidance service operates in the context of the wider FET programme delivery reporting within the structures of the ETB, i.e. within the management of the AEO and FET Director.
  • It is the role of the Co-ordinator to liaise with course co-ordinators and education centre managers to determine the guidance provision required, whether group or 1-1 , or outreach provision.
  • Guidance service delivery in FET is underpinned and informed by the Codes of Principles outlined in the National Guidance Forum Quality Guidelines.
  • Such principles and ethos ensure that the individual needs of clients are met and respected.

The following represent key principles:

Accessible: Accessible to the specified target groups and without barriers in relation to learning opportunities, location, information and guidance materials;

Appropriate:  to the client’s needs and stage of development;

Confidential: within an ethical framework and with an awareness of legal limits within the guidance process;

Equality of opportunity: promoting and demonstrating equality of opportunity in relation to adult education with an awareness of the requirements of equality legislation;

Impartial:, in order to safeguard the interests of the client;

Individual Ownership & Opportunity: provision of information on educational opportunities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally as appropriate, which best meet the client’s needs.

Integrated: clients are encouraged to take ownership and responsibility for their individual choices and decisions;

Quality Standards and delivery:  agreed standards of delivery, professionally qualified staff, together with appropriate facilities and resources to meet the needs of the client groups;

Team Approach: adopting a team approach with education providers encourages the integration of guidance within adult education;

Transparent: The guidance process itself should be open and transparent. Guidance practitioners should explain to individuals in clear, appropriate language how they propose to work with them within the guidance process;

Complaints handling: Guidance Service providers should have a complaints procedure for clients and systems for obtaining client feedback.