Wellbeing & Guidance


Although it is difficult to completely narrow down all the activities in which the Chaplaincy Team is involved, the Team has chosen to prioritise the following areas. These are: Liturgies, Retreats, Counselling & Charities.

Liturgies – Students are encouraged to get involved in the liturgy through reciting readings, writing Prayers of the Faithful, singing, playing instruments, delivering reflections etc. In conjunction with Class Masses, the Chaplaincy Team also works on providing prayer services throughout the year. These are to mark key events/festivals, or as the needs arise. The Chaplaincy Team also assists in providing Reconciliation Services and 6th Year Graduation Mass.

Retreats – Each Year is given their own day out on retreat. These days are challenging and thought provoking for all students. It is the hope that the experiences will help inform the students’ faith on their journey through school life.

Counselling – Counselling is an extremely important part of Chaplaincy services. Students are seen on a one to one or small group basis. Individual students can be referred through teachers, Year Heads or Principal. Students are also encouraged to make appointments themselves as they see fit.

Charities – Throughout the school year the Chaplaincy Team is involved with a number of charitable activities in conjunction with all Year groups. It is the aspiration of the Team to engage and challenge the students to give of their time and energy to help the less fortunate and marginalised in our society.


Student Support

The Guidance & Counselling Department has a remit to help students make informed personal, educational and career decisions, set realistic personal and career goals, and develop the skills necessary to accomplish these goals. The service also offers students support in coping with personal problems or academic concerns. Guidance and Counselling is at the heart of our pastoral care in Stanhope Secondary School.

The Guidance & Counselling Department provides an “Open Door” policy to students, parents and teachers. All students, through their year heads, are informed of the service provided at the beginning of each year and are encouraged to avail of it. They can request an appointment by talking to the Guidance Counsellor’s Office. Referrals, on behalf of students, can also be made by teachers and parents.

In Stanhope Secondary School, the term guidance refers to a wide range of learning experiences provided in a developmental sequence that assist students to develop self-management skills which will lead them to make effective and informed choices about their lives and in making transitions to these choices.

Learning Experiences

These learning experiences are broken into three distinct but interlinked areas:

Personal Counselling – helps students explore their feelings and the choices open to them. It provides care and support to students learning to cope with challenges in their lives. Should the need arise, referrals to outside agencies may occur.

Educational Counselling – study skills, subject choice, coping with learning-related difficulties.

Vocational Counselling – aptitude tests, provision of career information and decision making. All 6th-year students will have a timetabled Careers class and should they need more appointments this will be facilitated.


CARA Mentoring Programme

At Stanhope Secondary School we are very proud of our CARA Mentoring programme. This is a special pro-active integration policy to assist 1st-year students to make the transition from primary school to secondary school.

Our mentors

  • Are specially trained 5th year students in youth leadership
  • Assist in the detection of bullying
  • Communicate with the Principal/ Deputy Principal, Year head and Tutors.
  • Since its introduction, we have found it to be an invaluable resource to aid the transition from Primary to Secondary School for our new 1st year entrants each September.

Pastoral Care / Wellbeing

Stanhope Secondary School holds at its core the principle that all members of the school community should support each other in an environment of mutual respect. This principle extends to all students and all members of staff.


Pastoral Care System

Each class within a year group has a specific teacher assigned to it as a Class/Form Tutor. The Form Tutor meets his/her class at Wellbeing each week where Student Journals are checked and signed, and students get an information up-date on all of the happenings within the school. The overall care of each year group is co-ordinated by a Year Head. Students’ progress and behaviour are monitored, and regular contact with parents is made through use of the Student Journal and Parent Teacher Meetings. We have a system of continuous assessment where students are assessed regularly, i.e. on a weekly basis or at the end of a topic/chapter. Full reports on academic progress in each subject are sent to parents at Christmas and Summer. A special Induction Evening is held in September for parents of our 1st Year students to welcome them into the Stanhope Community, outline our Stanhope Ethos, meet with Principal, Deputy Principal, Home School Community Liaison Officer.

Wellbeing Programme

In Stanhope Secondary School student well-being is central to our focus. The entire school community works to help the students realize their abilities, take care of their physical and mental well-being, cope with the normal stresses of life, and have a sense of purpose and belonging to a wider community. Through the curriculum and extracurricular activities, students are assisted in developing lifelong learning skills in order to be more resilient and independent.

Indicators of wellbeing


  • Am I a confident and skilled participant in physical activity?
  • How physically active am I?


  • Do I take action to protect and promote my wellbeing and that of others?
  • Do I make healthy eating choices?
  • Do I know where my safety is at risk and do I make right choices?


  • Do I feel connected to my school, my friends, my community and the wider world?
  • Do I appreciate that my actions and interactions impact on my own wellbeing and that of others, in local and global contexts?


  • Do I believe that I have the coping skills to deal with life’s challenges?
  • Do I know where I can go for help?
  • Do I believe that with the effort I can achieve?


  • Do I feel that I am listened to and valued?
  • Do I have positive relationships with my friends, my peers and my teachers?
  • Do I show care and respect for others?


  • Am I aware of my thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and can I make sense of them?
  • Am I aware of what my personal values are and do I think through my decisions?
  • Do I understand what helps me to learn and how I can improve?


Wellbeing and the Curriculum

  • In Junior Cycle students in Stanhope Secondary School have classes in – S.P.H.E. – C.S.P.E. – R.E.
  • At Senior Cycle well-being is facilitated in the curriculum through – R.E., P.E. and Career Guidance.


Four Aspects of Wellbeing


  • School mission and ethos
  • physical and social environment
  • Classroom culture
  • Teaching, learning, and assessment


  • Student/teacher relationships
  • Peer relationships
  • Student voice
  • Partnerships with parents/guardians, community, and wider supports


  • CSPE, PE and SPHE
  • Guidance
  • Other subjects and learning experiences
  • Extra-curricular and co-curricular learning

Policy & Planning

  • School policies
  • School self-evaluation
  • Subject and whole-school planning
  • CPD planning