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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Education staff responsible for guidance in early childhood and school education


10.Management and other education staff

10.3Education staff responsible for guidance in early childhood and school education

Last update: 8 June 2022

It should be noted that most professionals working in specialised educational support and psychology and guidance services (Serviços de Psicologia e Orientação - SPO) are psychologists and social workers.

Specialised educational support services

Specialised educational support services guarantee the right conditions for students’ integration at school, working in tandem with the educational guidance services provided by schools. These services include psychology and guidance services, educational support unit, other services offered by the school, such as school welfare, organising study rooms and complementary curricular activities.

Without prejudice to general and specific duties legally established, specialised educational support services:

  • work together with the school cluster’s administration and management, as well as the educational guidance services, jointly detecting specific educational and organisational needs and providing added support.
  • make an active contribution diversifying educational strategies and methods to promote student’s development and learning skills.
  • collaborate on the flexible management of curricula, tailoring them to students’ competences, capacities and interests, as well as local situations.
  • help improve the school cluster’s conditions and educational environment, thus boosting quality and educational innovation.

Psychology and guidance services

School and career guidance is an important part of the educational process. The role of these services is to monitor students’ progress throughout their school career, helping to pinpoint their interests and aptitudes and intervening in the teaching-learning process.

The Ministry of Education, through Law No 190/1991, 17 May, established psychology and guidance services throughout the school network. These services operate in pre-school establishments and in basic and upper secondary schools with psychologists and specialised social service workers.

The psychology and guidance services are a specialised educational support unit in conjunction with the educational community in pre-school establishments and in basic education schools (1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles) that make up the school cluster. These services provide psychological and psycho-pedagogical support, as well as school and career counselling and guidance to students, teachers, parents and child-carers, as well as non-teaching staff. These services also help towards developing a network of interpersonal relations within each of the schools that are part of the school cluster, as well as helping promote integrated intervention among the various schools in the cluster, encouraging interaction with the surrounding community.

As specialised educational support services, they facilitate the development of students’ personal and social identity by encouraging success at school. They monitor students’ school life and make adjustments to the learning-teaching process, while helping design suitable educational solutions. They identify students’ interests and skills, helping construct their life projects while bringing together family, school and the world of educational, cultural and professional activities.

These services provide psychological and educational support, as well as school and career guidance, following a cross curricular approach based on mutual cooperation at school and within the community the school belongs to.

Psychology and guidance services (SPO) have the following responsibilities:

  1. to assist with drafting, implementing and developing the school’s educational project by making an inventory of the educational community’s needs and capabilities; to help plan and apply measures that contribute to defining strategies that provide a wider selection of educational provision and better educational environments; coordinating its activity with other services, such as health, welfare and social security, employment and vocational training, in order to plan suitable intervention measures.
  2. to provide psychological and pedagogical support to students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians and other actors in the education process and help to design suitable educational solutions. 
  3. to work with other services, school advisory bodies and with other educational professionals at the level of organising and managing curricular and educational activities, adjusting the students’ learning-teaching processes; to help define strategies leading to diverse provision of learning opportunities within the classroom.
  4. to provide activities to create awareness about education, career and social opportunities, such as study visits, vocational experiences and traineeships, among others, designed for students, their parents or guardians and other members of the community. In doing so, students will receive help construct their life projects, as well as making the right choices that will influence their future options.