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’ 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 years in November.   Students from exam years are invited to attend workshops on study skills in 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.


CAO Information Talk for Sixth Year Parents


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.


 1st Term Visiting Speakers, Study Skills, 3rd Term Mindfullness, 6 Week Group Work Clare Finegan

Week 1
What is Mindfulness?
Intention, Attention, Attitude – the practice of paying attention in the present moment.
Introduction to Relaxation Techniques/Conscious Distraction Techniques using Hypnotherapy
Week 2
Neurobiology of Mindfulness
The Mind/Body Connection
Tackling Anxieties and Fears using EFT
Week 3
Cultivating Gratitude
Handling Difficult Thoughts and Emotions
Going forward in a positive manner using CBT
Week 4
Mindfulness of Relationships
Week 5
Kindness to Self and Others
New Perspective for the future using CBT
Week 6
New beginnings using CBT
Developing an ongoing Mindfulness practice

Take a virtual trip to work with your parent

Record the interview on your digital portofolio or simply record your thoughts and keep safe in hardback.
Work Day” about their jobs. Record their answers on your note sheets. You may add more
 questions to your interview.
1. What is the title of your position? _____________________________________________________________________________
2. Where is your place of employment? ___________________________________________________________________________
3. What is the basic nature of your job? ___________________________________________________________________________
4. What is the most important part of your job? ______________________________________________________________________
5. What courses in school would make the training of your job easier? _______________________________________________________
6. What college course or training course would you suggest? ____________________________________________________________
7. Are there any degree requirements? ____________________________________________________________________________
8. How many years of training are required? ________________________________________________________________________
9. Is an apprenticeship or specialised training required? ________________________________________________________________
10. What personal qualifications must you have? _____________________________________________________________________
11. Describe a normal day on the job. _____________________________________________________________________________
12. What are your main responsibilities? __________________________________________________________________________
13. What are the advantages and disadvantages of your job? _____________________________________________________________
14. How many hours are spent on the job? _________________________________________________________________________


Study Skills

Study Tips by Amazing Brains (1)

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.



Living Life to the Full


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.


Therapy, Counselling and Support Services

(Information Correct as of October 2017. However this is subject to change by each individual listing)

Free Counselling

Pieta House (Suicide & Self-harm) Free Service. Unit 22, Santry Way, Dublin 9. Contact: 01 883 1000 / info@pieta.ie; Website: www.pieta.ie

Ballymun Child and Family Centre (counseling service), Shangan Green, Ballymun, Dublin 9. Free Service. Contact: 01 852 7183.

Deora Counselling (counseling for bereavement/loss through homicide/suicide/addiction), Low Cost/No Cost service. Contact: 01 836 4524 / 087 9742 742 / info@deora-project.org; Website: www.deora-project.org

Northside Counselling Service, Coolock  Development Centre, Coolock, Dublin 17. Donations can be accepted. Contact: 01 848 4789; Website: www.northsidecounselling.ie

Laragh Counselling Service (counselling for adult victim of childhood sexual/physical/emotional/institutional abuse), 1 Prospect House, Prospect Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9. Contact: 1800 234 110 / 01 882 4100

Dublin North City Primary Care Psychology Service. Clients are usually seen in North Great George’s St or North Strand Health Centre. Refer using the primary care referral form. Clients can also self-refer. Contact: 01 846 7005 / referrals.dnc@hse.ie

Low Cost Sliding Scale

Accord Counselling, Virgin Mary Church, Shangan Road, open mon-thurs, donation fee from 20 euro+, Contact: 01 857 7000, Waiting list. Other centres in Phibsboro Contact: 01 868 0028.

Irish Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (IACP.IE) for free, low cost and cost counsellors in your area. Contact them to get the name and number of a therapist requiredContact: 01 230 3536.

Lir Counselling Service: 204 Ballymun Road, Sliding Scale Fee starts at 20 euro for unemployed. Contact : 01 842 5964/087 2817874.

Oasis Counselling, St Laurences Place E Seville Place, Dublin 1. Contact Donation Fee of 5-10+, waiting list of a few weeks, less if distressed. Contact: 01 836 4524

Target Education Counselling Service: Holy Trinity SchoolDonaghmeade, Donation of 10 Euro 6-9 Weeks. Contact:01 867 0297.

The Healthy Living Centre (HLC) Dublin City University DCU Glasnevin, or email hlc@dcu.ie, for an appointment. Initial assessment and then the Fee can be negotiated. Ring re waiting list. Contact 01 700 7171.

My Mind (Centre for Mental Wellbeing). 7A Store Street, Dublin 1. My Mind is a non-profit organisation that provides accessible and affordable mental health care to those who need it.. They provide psychological support services in person, online and in the work place. Contact: (+353) 76 680 1060 / hq@mymind.org

Private Cost Therapy

Irish Association for Humanist and Integrative Psychotherapists (IAHIP). They have a directory of therapists on their website where you can find one in your area. www.aihip.ie . If you want to call the organization for more information you must call before 13.00pm. Contact 01 284 1665.

Prospect psychotherapy Service 16 prospect road Glasnevin D.9, You can make an appointment by calling or emailing info@prospectpsychotherapy.ie. Your call will be returned to arrange an appointment. Appointments are from 8.00am to 9.00pm Monday to Friday and from 9.00am to 4.00pm on Saturdays. Fee per session is €70 Contact: 01-8302358.

Spectrum Therapy. Primary Care Centre, Navan road, Dublin 7. Spectrum is a network of private psychology and counseling clinics. Website: www.spectrumtherapy.ie Contact: 01 6111 719 / therapy@spectrumhealth.ie

Arduna Counselling and Psychotherapy Service. 54 Clontarf Road, Dublin 3. Contact: (01) 833 2733 / info@arduna.ie 


Some self-help resources

·        The Centre for Clinical Interventions: A CBT-based website developed by clinical psychologists in Australia to offer guided self-help around a range of mental health difficulties, from a CBT perspective. The website also contains downloadable information sheets for professionals to use with clients (e.g. information on sleep hygiene). All resources are free. Visit website at www.cci.health.wa.gov.au

·        Get Self Help: A CBT-based website (UK-based) that offers free self-help and therapy resources for mental health difficulties, predominantly using a CBT approach. Visit website at www.getselfhelp.co.uk 

·        The ‘Overcoming’ Series: This is a range of guided CBT-based self-help books written by leading experts in a range of mental health difficulties. Books include ‘Overcoming OCD’, ‘Overcoming Binge Eating’ and ‘Overcoming Low Self-Esteem’.



·         Samaritans: They provide support through text, email, letter and face-to-face visits. Or Contact: 116 123. Email jo@samaritans.ie

·       Rape Crisis Centre: Free 24 hour helpline 7 days a week. They provide counseling one to one counselling and have a centre in Coolock. Contact: 1800 77 88 88 / info@rcc.ie

·        Aoibhneas Women and Children’s Refuge offer a free 24 hour helpline, Contact 01 867 0701. They also offer other services including an outreach service, drop in centre and practical information for women experiencing abuse. If accommodation is needed it has a cost and you must contact them to discuss.

·         Shine: An organization supporting people with mental health issues such as schizophrenia. It runs support groups. Contact: info@shineonline.ie

·         Bodywhys: Bodywhys is the voluntary organisation supporting people affected by eating disorders. They offer free helpline, support group and online support. They can also provide you with details of counsellors that suit your cost need from free, donation to cost counselors. Contact Locall Helpline 1890 200 444.

·         Connect Counselling: Free telephone counselling and support service for adults abused in childhood, Contact: 1800 477 477.

·         Parentline: A voluntary organization that provide a free confidential helpline offering support and guidance to parents. They can also provide one to one meetings with parents coping with problem teens to discuss non violent responses. Furthermore they provide other support for other parental issues such as post natal depression. All supports are free. Contact: 1890 927 277 / 01 8733500 / info@parentline.ie.

·         Women’s Aid: A voluntary organization offering support regarding emotional, physical, sexual or financial abuse. They provide emergency accommodation, support & information and counselling. Website: www.womensaid.ie Contact Free Helpline: 1800 341 900.

·         The National Drugs Helpline for confidential adviceContact Helpline: 1800 459 459 / helpline@hse.ie

·         LGBT Helpline: Listening & information Helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) individuals, their family & friends. Email: info@lgbt.ie Web: lgbt.ie Contact Helpline: 1890 929 539 (evenings 6.30pm -9.00pm Mon-thurs; 4pm-9pm Fridays; 4pm-6pm Sat/Sun).


Support Services-group therapy,online help and information

·         Aware.ie offer free weekly support groups (Depression Support Group Dominican College, Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9 – every Tuesday and Thursday at 19.30) and free online supports to people suffering from anxiety and Depression, There is a relative information lecture for family and friends of people with mood related conditions. This is a free service in St. Patricks Hospital, James’s Street Dublin 8 with no referral or booking needed. Second Wednesday of every month at 19.30. Contact: 1800 80 48 48.

·         ARC cancer support centres provide free services which include stress management, relaxation and counseling. This service is for anyone who is affected by cancer including cancer patients, family members, friends and carers. Dropin centre open Mon-Thurs 10am – 4pm; Late opening on Tues to 8pm; Fri 10am – 2pm. Arc House, 65 Eccles Street, Dublin 7Contact 01-830 7333

·         Gay Switchboard Dublin (GSD): An LGBT+ support service, including a helpline (7 days per week). Web: www.gayswitchboard.ie Contact 01-8721055

·         Grow.ie is a free weekly support group for different mental health difficulties. Visit grow.ie for locations, days & times of local weekly meetings (including Raheny and Artane). Contact: 1890 474 474.

·         Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Ireland offer information and support groups for people suffering with OCD. Contact www.ocdireland.org / information@ocdireland.org.

·         Social Anxiety Ireland. A voluntary organization offering information and support for those suffering with social anxiety. Email info@socialanxietyireland.com Contact 085 216 8981.

·         ReachOut.com: is an ONLINE service that helps people get through tough times, providing fact-sheets, personal stories, videos & an ‘ask the expert’ function on many aspects of mental health & help-seeking. Contact: 1 764 5666 / general@reachout.com

·         S.O.S. (Suicide or Survive): An organisation offering support for people who have attempted or considered suicide. Contact: LoCall 1890 577 577 / 01 272 2158 / info@suicideorsurvive.ie

·         Headway.ie: Brain injury support and helpline: They provide rehabilitation, information and psychological support in group and individual therapy. They also provide psychotherapy for groups and families. To attain therapy you must download referral form online, fill it out, send it back to them and wait for their reply; there is usually a waitlist. Contact helpline 1890 200 278 or office Tel: (01) 60 40 800

·         The Alzheimer’s Society: They provide support groups, day care centres, social clubs and other care services for people with Alzheimer’s. They also provide support for carers’ regarding respite. For more information Contact 1800 341 341.

·         The Out and About Association. Oanda is an Anxiety Resource Centre set up to help anyone who is suffering from: Panic attacks, Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Social phobiasInformation available at www.oandaireland.ie/ Contact 1800 252 524/ oandaireland@gmail.com

·         TENI (Transgender Equality Network, Ireland): A voluntary organization seeking to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. They run support groups. Contact: (01) 873 3575 / office@teni.ie

·         Irish Advocacy Network: The aim of the Irish advocacy network is to provide information, support and choice for those who have experienced difficulties with their mental health and well being. Contact 01 872 8684

Drugs and Alcohol Services

·         AA Alcoholics anonymous self help support group: Local meeting held at St. Vincents Hospital, Convent Avenue, Richmond Road, Fairview, Dublin 3Visit alcoholicsanonymous.ie for more information on local meetings. Contact: 01 842 0700

·         Áit Linn Alcohol Addiction Recovery. They provide free one to one counselling, group counselling and psychoeducation. Visit aitlinn.ie for further information. Contact: 01 537 3946

·         Addictioncounsellors.ie. Contact between 9-2 Monday to Friday to find an addiction specialist. This is a private fee service. Contact 01 797 9187.

·         The Drugs and Alcohol programme provides information, support and counseling in relation to drugs, substance misuse and addiction. Contact Drugs.ie

·         NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS (NA) : For those overcoming all types of drug & narcotic addictions. Contact: 01 6728000 / info@na-ireland.org.