Guidance & Chaplain
Meet Our Career Guidance Counsellor and Our School Chaplain
Career Guidance and Counselling is at the heart of our Pastoral Care System at St. Tiernan’s Community School. Our Guidance Counsellor has a caring and supportive role in the school where students can get advice and support about a range of issues. The support given ranges across subject choice, study skills, personal problems, family difficulties and mental health to college advice and information with particular emphasis on Universities, Post Leaving Certificate Courses and the Apprenticeship Sector.
The Guidance Counsellor is on hand to meet with students in a confidential environment where they can be cared for and supported throughout their time in the school. Counselling helps pupils explore their thoughts and feelings and the choices open to them. It gives care and support to pupils learning to cope with the many aspects of growing up and school life and with their individual personal circumstances. St. Tiernan’s Community School endeavours to offer comprehensive guidance and counselling service to all our students. The Guidance Counsellor liaises with Chaplain, HSCL, Year Heads, Class Teachers, Learning Support Teachers, Subject Teachers, Deputy Principal and Principal. They also have regular contact with parents, psychologists, employers, colleges, social services, counsellors and the Department of Education.
Our Guidance Counsellor, Ms Niamh O’Mahony
Niamh graduated with a Business degree from Cork Institute of Technology, followed by a level 8 Professional Diploma in Education (Business) from the University of Limerick. Recently she has gained an Honours Masters degree in Guidance and Counselling from Dublin City University.
Niamh has several years experience in teaching and in guidance counselling. Her educational experience across a wide range of student abilities, cultures and conditions was gained in a variety of schools and colleges across the globe. Some years in the Middle East, mainly in Bahrain. Followed by responsibility in Melbourne for the education of displaced teenage immigrants into Australia. Her most recent work, as a Business teacher and a Guidance Counsellor was in the Catholic University School for the past 4 years.
Niamh believes that the exceptional standards in the classroom must also be reflected in the Career Guidance services provided. She takes time with her students and has a genuine interest in them. They are encouraged to be ambitious and to focus on becoming the best they can be. Niamh provides invaluable pastoral guidance, care and counselling to the students as they seek to balance academic progress and personal development. She has excellent rapport with the school teaching and support staff and that collaboration ensures a comprehensive awareness of the needs of each student. She sees her role as meeting each student where they are at and supporting each one to move forward to their chosen goals.
Our School Chaplain, Ms Sarah Redmond
Dear visitor, thank you for stopping to consider the role of the chaplain in St Tiernan’s Community School.
My name is Sarah Redmond and I am currently the chaplain in St Tiernan’s. In my work I take as my inspiration examples from the life of Jesus. Christ sat with Mary, the sister of Martha (Luke 10: 39), and they spoke. It is my role to sit with students, staff and all connected to the school and respond to their needs. In the account of the meeting with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well (Jn4:10) Jesus offered her ‘Living Water’.
As school chaplain, I have accepted the responsibility to provide spiritual support and pastoral care to all in our community. I recognise in every person in our community the unique giftedness of the individual and the divine presence in their lives. I am grateful each day to have the privilege of reflecting with members of our community on their daily experiences and their relationship with God, and I endeavour to always do so with love.
When I hear the word ‘chaplain’ I think of a faith friend whose responsibility it is to provide spiritual and pastoral support to the whole school community, no matter the persons background or faith.
There are numerous facets to the chaplain’s role in the school, these include:
- Teaching Religious Education (4 hours per week).
- Organising weekly prayer for assembly.
- Organising liturgies/Masses at appropriate times throughout the year.
- Meeting students on an individual basis for one-to-one support.
- Working as part of the pastoral care student support team.
- Faith accompaniment and support for students and staff.
Each day the Chaplain through ministry to students, family of students and staff of the school, endeavours to:
- Provide an open door where students, as well as other members of the school community, can come and receive support in a confidential and safe way.
- Meet the students each morning during Breakfast Club and as they enter the school.
- Be available during break and lunch times and between classes when students are free.
- Meet each first year on a one-to-one basis.
- Meet with students who wish to speak to the chaplain or who are referred by members of staff.
- Be available to the school during State Examinations to offer prayer, support and encouragement.
- Guide students to explore various prayer methods which bring peace, calm and fulfilment.
- Be present at Parent-Teacher Meetings, information nights with parents, awards ceremonies etc.
- Maintain an interest in and encourage students to become involved in extracurricular activities in the school.
- Liaise with the parishes in the catchment area and encourage students to take part in activities in their own parishes.
- Work to ensure that those of all denominations feel welcome within the school.
The Chaplain provides a bereavement support service to students, parents and teachers, through individual accompaniment & support and referral to bereavement supports e.g. Rainbows.
The Student Support Team
The Chaplain works closely with the Principal and Deputy Principal, Guidance Counsellor, Home School Liaison Teacher, School Completion Officer, Year Heads, SEN Teachers, Class Tutors, all of whom complete the Pastoral Care system within the school.
The Student Support Team, of which the Chaplain is part, meets on a weekly basis to coordinate the work of the team, support one another and to decide how best to facilitate the pastoral care of each person in the school community.
The Chaplain also works in collaboration with school management to promote a harmonious school environment. Regular meetings take place with the Principal and Deputy Principal.
Social Justice Outreach
The Chaplain promotes a spirit of concern for others within and beyond the school community. He/she promotes an understanding of and appreciation or Irish involvement in projects in the Developing World such as Trócaire, Concern and the annual Christmas Shoebox Appeal. He/she coordinates special fundraising days and works with the Year Heads and Tutors to organise fundraising activities for the SVP society at Christmas.
The Chaplain, while not in a formal disciplinarian role, at all times supports and promotes the discipline policies in the school. The chaplain is available to help in pastorally addressing the underlying cause of a pupil’s undisciplined behaviour.
The Chaplain is called to respond to the unexpected, the unpredictable, the unplanned and the unstructured.