Guidance counselling focuses on promoting learning, self-knowledge, working life and educational opportunities. Guidance counselling is a continuum from pre-primary education to upper secondary studies. In basic education in Vantaa, guidance counselling follows a principle where the whole school staff provides counselling for the students. Counselling is offered in connection to different subjects, via guidance counselling and through all other school activities. It is carried out in cooperation with the guardians.
The guidance counselling plan of the City of Vantaa’s basic education defines the work’s city-level guidelines (only in Finnish). The schools will specify this city-level guidance counselling plan annually in their school year plan.
Guidance counselling is included in the curriculum of basic education
In basic education, guidance counselling in grades 1–6 is offered in connection to different subjects and other school activities. Based on the curriculum, a student must receive individual guidance to support their studies and choices as well as with various everyday life situations. The objectives and contents of 1st–6th grade guidance counselling, as well as its connection to comprehensive competence, have been recorded in the curriculum.
In Vantaa, the class teacher of each 6th grade and the guidance counsellor in charge of the class in question work together to create a primary school’s guidance counselling unit that supports the city’s strategic goals. The goal of this guidance counselling unit of the 6th grade is to support the students’ learning prerequisites, their ability to identify their strengths, success of their schoolwork, progress of their studies and the results and effectiveness of education.
In grades 7–9, guidance counselling adheres to the goals of the curriculum and thus comprises class-room counselling, personal counselling, small-group counselling and working life trial periods. In addition to this, guidance counselling also includes guidance during the studies’ transitional stages. Another part of the work are visits to different businesses and educational institutes.
Intensive guidance counselling. In grades 8 and 9, a student who needs support for applying for further education after basic education is entitled to not only regular guidance counselling, but also to more intensive personal guidance counselling customised to the student’s needs.
Intensive personal guidance counselling focuses on developing the student’s capabilities for further education and guiding them towards suitable further studies. The goal is to find a place in continued education for every student, where the student can continue their compulsory education after finishing basic education. In intensive personal guidance counselling, a personal plan for further studies will be compiled for the student. TEPPO students (students of working life-oriented teaching) are automatically entitled to intensive personal guidance counselling. Intensive personal guidance counselling, or intensive counselling for short, uses different support measures for different students and is implemented based on an individual assessment. In practice, intensive counselling offers students meetings with the guidance counsellor in small groups or individually more often than average.
One form of intensive counselling is that the student receives the guidance counsellor’s help or support for finding a workplace for the student’s mandatory period of work experience or that the student completes more periods of work experience than presented in the curriculum. Working life-oriented teaching (incl. TEPPO and JOPO models) is counted as intensive counselling. Intensive counselling can also mean that the guidance counsellor supports the student during the transitional stage to the upper secondary stage by guiding them to learn about possible further education places through various visits and training trials, for example.
Intensive counselling aims to ensure that a student’s guardians are included in supporting and guiding the student: the goals and the related measures are set in joint meetings. Intensive counselling also includes shared counsellorship: the guidance counsellor can be involved in multidisciplinary and multi-professional cooperation with several different professionals when supporting the student. Intensive cooperation between the class teacher/special needs class teacher and the part-time special needs teacher is one of the intensive counselling’s cornerstones. Other partners may include the school’s social worker, school psychologist, school nurse, Finnish as a foreign language teacher, special needs assistant, multicultural or multilingual instructor, youth worker, a representative of an upper secondary education institute, a coach from recreational activities or a social services and health care worker.
The need for intensive counselling will always be assessed on a case-by-case basis, separately for each student. The guidance counsellor will primarily assess the need for intensive personal guidance counselling, approaching this from the perspective of the contents and objectives of guidance counselling. Guidance counsellors assess which students could benefit from intensive counselling based on their own work, for example during the group guidance counselling lessons of 7th and 8th grade students. Additionally, the other potential structures in place in the school, such as TEPPO or JOPO interviews, can work well for reviewing the need for intensive counselling. The different school operators also work closely together to identify the students in need of intensive counselling.
Working life skills and entrepreneurship are one focus area of guidance counselling in Vantaa’s basic education. The goal is to promote the student’s interest and positive attitude towards work and working life and to improve their related awareness. Working life cooperation is implemented through the teaching of various subjects. Other methods of implementing working life cooperation in school are classroom visits from professionals and experts of different fields, educational visits to workplaces and companies, cooperation projects, working life-oriented teaching and periods of work experience.
All 9th grade students at a comprehensive school need to complete a two-week period of work experience (TET) to support their future educational and professional choices. These periods can also be held in the 7th and 8th grades as shorter 2–5-day periods. The periods of work experience comprise planned, goal-oriented operations: The student will gain experience about workplaces and learn more about the guidelines and procedures of working life as well as the different professions. You can find out more about the periods of work experience at your school from the school’s guidance counsellors.
Joint application procedure
Towards the end of basic education, the guidance counsellor and teachers work together to guide and support students in making decisions about their further studies and the joint application procedure. With the support of this guidance and with the guardians’ help, the student will make choices about his or her future studies and career path based on his or her own strengths, abilities and interests. The guardians have an important role when considering these choices.
The schools inform them about the joint application procedure, organise a parents’ evening related to it and also hold personal meetings when necessary. Every year, guardians also have the chance to learn more about the upper secondary education institutes in Vantaa through the institutes’ Doors Open Days, for example.
For more information on the joint application procedure and the upper secondary education institutes in Vantaa, visit the Vantaa joint application procedure’s website. The national joint application procedure’s website is Studyinfo (Opintopolku).