A north Kildare school has been highly commended for aspects of its treatment for those on the autism spectrum and its guidance programme for students.
Salesian College in Celbridge has two autism spectrum disorder (ASD) classes and close links have been established with the ACRE (A Community Rethinking Education) project on the school campus, which the National Learning Network also uses as a base.
In a special report on its Guidance subject, following an inspection on November 13 last, the Department of Education inspector said that this inter-community collaboration was highly commended.
The report said the quality of provision and whole-school support for Guidance is very good. “There is a highly commendable integrated, whole-school, and collaborative approach to supporting students.”
The guidance team includes one full-time guidance counsellor and a recently appointed part time guidance counsellor.
A weekly lesson in Guidance is timetabled for all students in sixth year, while short modules are provided in TY and 5th year on such topics as subject options, preparation for work experience, personal motivation and goal setting.
The report recommended that these modules be extended to include additional career guidance activities such as career explorations, course investigations and reviews of a college open days.
Third-year students benefit from a guidance module and participation in the Junior Achievement Career Success programme.
The inspector noted that the school has been partnered with a number of global companies and third-year students have been given access to a digital platform aimed at enhancing their personal and vocational skills and their understanding of the world of work.
Students in Transition Year and Leaving Cert Applied benefit from a work experience programme which is very effectively managed and co-ordinated. The report said that it was positive that senior-cycle students have been facilitated in the past to attend a career and course exhibition which is organised collectively by a number of schools in the Maynooth and Celbridge area.
In a response to the report, the Salesian Board of Management said that while it had over 700 students it did not have a full allocation for Guidance and up to recently the work was done by just one guidance counsellor.