In keeping with professional good practice in guidance; records should be kept of all meetings with students.
Examples of simple, one-page templates for use during an educational/career guidance one-to-one meeting and a personal guidance counselling one-to-one meeting with students can be accessed below.
It may be helpful to print and photocopy these (completed) documents after each meeting with a student so both the Guidance Counsellor and student share the same record of the meeting.
It would be good practice to discuss the notes you have taken with students at the end of a one-to-one meeting and to invite the student to sign this record also. As the student can request a copy of your records under GDPR it is important to be mindful of this when taking notes. Notes should be succinct and be factual in nature, and describe thoughts and feelings expressed by the student e.g. John reported feeling confused and anxious rather than ‘John is suffering from anxiety and is confused’.
It should be noted that:
- The classes of information recorded in the template should be adapted to your needs
- Records of the career interviews and interviews of a personal nature (students experiencing challenges/crises) should be kept separately
- If you have access to the school database, it might not be necessary to record items such as exam results
- The use of an identifier, rather than a name, will help to maintain anonymity
- If used, the document linking identifiers and names should be kept separately
- Records should comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Guidance counsellors should refer to their school policy on GDPR in the first instance.
In brief, the GDPR stipulates that;
- Minimal information be recorded
- Records be kept securely when not in use
- Written consent of parents and students to engage with the supports available in a school should be sought at least annually
- Confidential data may be disclosed only with the clear and explicit consent of the student and parents/guardians
- You should be aware of your data protection responsibilities
- Data that you keep should not be freely accessible by others
- Your data should be in accord with the school’s data security policy