Drawing on the inspiration of Catherine McCauley, we strive to create a caring community. It is important to us in Mercy Mounthawk that each student feels welcome and can find support in times of need or guidance in clarifying his her direction in life.
In Mercy Mounthawk there are three different levels on which pastoral care is organised.
- 1. Whole School Level
All teaching staff by virtue of their professional work help to create a sense of belonging and care in the school.
Students in the school are broken into year groups. Each year group has a year head whose job it is to look after the well being of students in that year. They give academic advice to students and assist with any personal difficulties. Each class group has a Tutor who they meet each morning for Assembly. The tutors monitor attendance and provide support and encouragement to the students in their class.
- 2. Specific Programme Level
A series of programme initiatives with specific pastoral goals have been developed in the school, such as classes in SPHE and Religion on issues as diverse as bullying, substance abuse, relationship and decision making.
- 3. Pastoral Counselling and Support
We have a Pastoral Care Team comprising a team of three Career Guidance Counsellors, Two Resource Teachers, a Chaplain, one of the Deputy Principals and a number of teachers who have training in pastoral support All members minister to the needs of pupils. One to one pastoral support is available as the need is identified.
GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING – provision from September 2012
As you will be aware, there have been changes nationally to the provision for guidance and counselling in our schools. The Department has cut ex-quota provision for guidance counsellors – which essentially means a cut in teacher allocation to schools, in our case, by 2.14 teachers. This has meant that we have restructured the
provision of guidance and counselling in the school for the coming academic year.
It has been our intention to maintain the highest level of provision possible and with the incoming guidance team of Ms. BettyFarrell, Sr. Nora Flynn and Ms. Mairead O’Mahony we have worked out a number of changes to the delivery of guidance and counselling to take account of new realities.
The guidance team will meet with parents in September at the parent meetings. In order to maximise efficiency in relation to the delivery of information regarding courses and subject choices, emphasis will be placed on Parent Information Sessions (dates in the calendar in this issue). At the end of these sessions, the guidance team will be available for consultation. Therefore, individual appointments with parents will only be required in exceptional circumstances and this will help reduce the allocation required.
Allied to this, guidance will continue to be timetabled for 6th years and in TY and we will introduce a class into 5th year. TY and 5th year classes will run in
conjunction with SPHE teachers who will assist the guidance counsellors in the provision of classes learning and study skills. Again this will hopefully cut down the demand for individual student appointments. Individual appointments will of course continue for Leaving Certificate students. These changes to provision will be
evaluated at the end of 2012/13.