Guidance and counselling is an important part of a pupil's support system and is provided at all three levels of support (general, intensified and special). All these categories comprise both academic and psychological counselling. Guidance counselling is therefore not only about advising on the choice of studies but also about counselling the pupils or students for example regarding their learning difficulties.
Pupil counselling and educational guidance continue throughout basic education. The aim of counselling is to help the pupils to make their own individual study plans. Continuity is guaranteed through cooperation and interaction between all teachers participating in guidance during each pupil’s educational path. Especially important guidance and counselling are in the transition points of studies.
The principles of guidance activities and the division of work between different participants must be determined in the local curriculum. It is the task of all teachers to guide pupils in studies in different subjects and to help them develop their learning to learn skills and learning abilities as well as to prevent the emergence of problems related to studies. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them.
It is important that the teachers in their guidance try to confirm the pupils’ self-confidence. They must encourage the pupils to do their best and to achieve the learning results that are in accordance with their abilities. Positive feedback is a good means of helping the pupils to 'excel themselves' and to get experiences of success. Each teacher is responsible for supporting pupils’ personal growth, development, cooperation and good relationships with other pupils. Team work is often very instructive and rewarding.
Various forms of support, guidance and counselling must be taken in use in time, when problems are still slight. Guidance in the right time often prevents difficulties from becoming bigger.
All pupils and their parents or other guardians are entitled to obtain information on working methods and options in basic education and their significance to each pupil’s learning and future. In addition to preventive efforts, guidance provided at school should also provide support for those pupils with difficulties related to studies or who are facing the risk of exclusion from education, vocational training or working life after completing basic education.
At upper secondary level, student counselling and educational guidance form an integrated entirety, which aims to support students at different stages of their studies and to develop their capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. The role of counselling and guidance is to promote equality and students’ well-being and to prevent social exclusion. The main responsibility for practical arrangements of guidance and counselling belongs to the student counsellor. However, the task of all teachers is to guide students in studies in the subjects they teach and to help them to develop their learning-to-learn skills and capabilities for learning.
Vocational education and training is characterised by instruction divided into study modules and units instead of being tied to year classes or grades.
All vocational qualifications include at least 1.5 credits of student counselling. In addition, all students have the right to receive sufficient personal and other educational guidance as needed. Each vocational institution is required to take special care of counselling and guidance for those students with learning difficulties, absences from school or problems with everyday life. In particular, employment opportunities of special needs students are developed in cooperation with local employment offices, business life and municipal health care and social services.