‘Engineers Ireland’ Philip Le Goy presents DGS Guidance Department Clare Finegan and chairperson of the DGS Board, Karl Allen, a Fuel Cell model car, the first of it’s kind in Ireland, which will be used by the school for teaching purposes.

Drogheda Grammar School


Clare Finegan M.Sc Guidance, M.Sc Psychotherapy, M.Sc Psych. Supervision, Doctorate 2020.

Welcome to the ‘Guidance Department’ at Drogheda Grammar School. 

Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the links below where you can find information about what’s happening in ‘Guidance’ at DGS and what you may need to know regarding educational opportunities both here and abroad.

Every year there is a series of talks for all 6th students presented by experienced speakers representing the NUI and IT colleges.  There will be a Talk on Study Skills for all parents as well as a CAO information night for parents of 6th year on 27th November.   Students from exam years are invited to attend workshops on study skills on 28th November and notification will be sent home via the students. It will be subsidised by the school.   

There are many guidance trips organised for our TY students.  Our 6th, 5th and TY students are given the opportunity to visit the annual Higher Options event in the RDS in September every year.  This event is of great benefit to all students as they can attend information talks on the CAO, UCAS and Eunicas.  Our students are encouraged   to think ‘globally’ and encouraged to attend the talk on ‘Studying in Europe’ in order to open their minds to the many educational opportunities available to them which are funded by the European Universities.  This is an area of interest whether they choose to do an undergraduate degree or take a year out to get a dual qualification. 

My advice to 6th year Parents is to encourage their sons and daughters to attend all talks in the school provided by Guidance Department every week. Students are invited to visit the main Library regularly where they will find prospectuses and brochures.  I make myself available for one –to-one career sessions with students however they need to book appointments especially around the time of CAO registration in November and December.  I recommend all students register before Christmas even if they have not prioritized their choices. I can do this with students if they have the fee by way of a credit card.  This is to take the pressure off students and their parents coming up to Christmas.  Registration is an extremely simple procedure and there should be no reason why any student cannot sign up. I am delighted to sit with any 6th year and do this with them.  Sitting with choices made is part of the decision process as students will invariably change their minds right up to July.  This is expected and welcomed and therefore is important that students continue to make appointments with me throughout the year.  If it is only to discuss how they are managing their studies and reaching their targets, it is vitally important that they take the responsibility to make appointments with me.  Often students will come to discuss CAO and discover that they have overlooked other opportunities or that they have limited themselves by underestimating their ability.  All students have access to and are encouraged to see me individually, read the brochures and their own copy of the CAO Handbook and adopt a mindset that everything is possible.

Parents, please engage in the process of reflection and decision making with your son/daughter regarding their career path.  We cannot emphasise enough how crucial it is for parents to familiarise themselves with the career programme and to share their own life experiences and wisdom with their children.  I am also available to parents and welcome you in to chat with me.

It is important to consistently remind our students that their career choice by no means defines them or determines their life journey.  All of our students are exposed to a wide range of Talks in Drogheda Grammar School which in turn offers a whole new range of options available to them in their future careers.  I impress upon our students to view an undergraduate degree as a starting point to the many wonderful opportunities and career paths which are possible to all. I encourage you to do likewise. Please do not be deterred by points as they are simply a crude mechanism to manage supply and demand.  There are several routes to access third level.

There are a number of online tools to assist you gain an understanding of CAO choices and routes.  In guidance class our students will complete numerous Interest Inventory Tests, Personality Profile Tests, Skills Profile Tests and Values Tests which will have already suggested jobs to match their profile.  The Careers Portal website www.careersportal.ie and www.qualifax.ie and www.cao.ie will produce a list of courses in their chosen category.

Each third level Institution publishes an undergraduate prospectus, which contains information about the institution itself and its courses.  It is important that students focus on the content of the course modules as this will explain what is involved in the course and what is expected from them.  It will also inform them about specialising in their second or third year and about postgraduate options. 



In Drogheda Grammar school, senior students have the school’s permission to attend Open Days however, only with the written consent of a Parent/Guardian .  Students who take leave from school to visit a college, are expected to catch up on any class work missed due to these visits. All 6th year students receive a handout at the start of the school year with a list of all the Open days and a CAO handbook which offers advice and important guidelines to the students.  Notifications are placed on the school  ‘Career Notice Board’.

Open Days are hugely beneficial as they give students an opportunity to talk with current third level students, graduates and staff.  This experience can give them a real impression of what it will be  like to go to attend a  college, live independently away from home and learn about  financial budgeting   and managing their time as well as providing  them with up to date information on  course content and college profile.



Each year Drogheda Grammar School plays host to more than 30 visiting speakers who travel long distances giving their time to talk to our students about courses, student progression, graduate work experience and graduate profile.  Each guest speaker enlightens and inspires students with anecdotes from their own professional experience and college life.  There is always something new to learn from each of them about their unique college and professional experiences. I am sincerely grateful to all of these people who play a vital role in the school’s career programme during the past 15 years that I have been here.

To select courses students must be fully informed about the choices open to them, therefore attendance is key to making correct and informed choices at CAO.

Please note the selection of Careers Speakers below;


September 5th                                        CAO Presentation

September 19th                                       Higher Options

September 26th                                       NUI Galway

October 3rd                                               NUI Maynooth

October 10th                                             NUI DCU

October 17th                                             IT and Guidance Well-being

October 25th                                             Engineers Ireland/Science

November 7th                                           TU Dublin

November 14th                                         CAO

November 21st                                          DKIT

November 27th                                          CAO & Study Skills (Parents only) 6.30- 7.30

November 28th                                         Study Skills Workshop

December 5th                                            Ulster University

December 12th                                         Mindfullness/Well-being


Visiting Speakers for 5th year Guidance Thursdays and Mondays

5th year Wellbeing Guidance: HSE and Dept of ED. and Samaritans

Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (2013), developed by the Dept. of Education and Skills, the HSE and the Dept. of Health.The programme runs over an 8 week period and is delivered during guidance classes to the small groups in 5th year. It will explore all areas of mental health, resilience, the role of mental health in career aspirations, how to manage upsetting feelings, thoughts, overload, how to identify the symptoms of anxiety, depression and the importance of resilience and how to build it.

This adds to the vocational guidance which runs over 6 weeks which explores personality tests, interest inventory tests, skills profiles, values profiles, personal statements, CAO, UCAS, EUNICAS.  

Seminar for students and parents 

Study Skills and Examination Techniques

Information sheet

Study Focus limited will be presenting a presentation on study skills and examination techniques on Wednesday 27th Nov for parents and Thursday 28th November for students. The presentation involves the following topics:

·         Listening techniques.

·         Note taking techniques.

·         Reading techniques.

·         Creating an ideal study environment.

·         Learning styles.

·         Study timetables.

·         Memory techniques.

·         Language skills.

·         What the student should do the night and morning before the examination.

·         Examination techniques.

This programme has proved to be very successful among university students and with secondary schools throughout Ireland.

A comprehensive study skills booklet and CD are giving to each student at the conclusion of the presentation.

Techniques Evaluation Workbook

From experience and research Study Focus Limited found that Students were very focused and motivated after the course, but some Students lose enthusiasm over time. To eliminate this problem we devised a workbook where the Student evaluates their techniques and performance in all aspects of study skills and examination techniques three times during the year. The workbook is extremely quick and easy to use. It is incredibly effective in highlighting where students have improved but more importantly it highlights the areas where students need to make improvements. 


Please see information regarding Minimum Entry Requirements, The Irish Language Requirement and The Third Language Requirement on the CAO website or in the CAO handbook.  All IT third level colleges require a pass in English and Maths.  Students must inform themselves if Irish, a third language or a science subject is required from the website ’Qualifax’ when doing Subject Choice.  If a student has an exemption it is his/her responsibility to inform in writing to NUI Matriculation Dublin. 


QUALIFAX: This site has a listing of all courses in Ireland.  It provides information to students and parents about third level courses, calculating points, essential subjects, course content and postgraduate progressions.www.qualifax.ie

UCAS:  This is another search tool were you can find information on undergraduate courses in the UK.  The Universities and Colleges Admissions service is a UK based organisation which operates the application process for British Universities. www.ucas.com

DARE:  Disability Access Route to Education

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school-leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. DARE offers reduced points places to school leavers who as a result of having a disability have experienced additional educational challenges in second level education.

DARE has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that disability can have a negative impact on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.

Please click on the link below for further information www.accesscollege.ie/dare


HEAR:           This is a college scheme which offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from some economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Ireland

For further information, please click on the link below



HPAT Ireland: – Health Professions Admission Test selected by the Irish Medical schools for prospective medical students.

It is an aptitude test that measures candidates’ logical reasoning and problem solving skills as well as non-verbal reasoning and the ability to understand the thoughts, behaviour and or intentions of people.  It does not test academic knowledge.  The focus is on general skills.

Students wishing to apply can register at www.hpat-ireland.acer.edu.au/  



The state provides financial support to about 40% of third level students.  Student grant applications are awarded by SUSI, the state’s grant awarding authority.  All applications for grants must be made through the SUSI website, www.susi.ie.  The website has a useful grant eligibility reckoner.

The website www.studentfinance.ie is a good source of information as is the www.european-funding-guide.eu.



Please see the timeline of activities at www.cao.ie. Students can update themselves by simply looking at the Notice Board at DGS.



Drogheda Grammar School provides  a comprehensive and confidential  counselling service which enables students to  self – refer simply by showing  up at the counsellor’s  office to make an appointment or  students can be  referred to me by teachers, parents and year heads by an agreed   formal school process.   Should a student need to be referred for assessment:  educational, medical, psychological, OT or for Psychotherapeutic intervention, I will contact parents to set up appointment referrals.  Should a parent wish to opt out of counselling services they may contact the school.  Any parent wishing to make contact with myself to discuss a counselling appointment can do so by phoning the school please.

Guidance Counselling Supervision in a School Context

GM Spring 2019 – Research – Supervision