Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.4Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

The recent publication of curricular norms has created new opportunities to help schools face challenges in education, namely:

• Exit profile for students leaving compulsory schooling – Despatch No 6478/2017, 26 July.

• Basic and upper secondary education curriculum – Decree-Law No 55/2018, 6 July.

• National Strategy for Citizenship Education (Estratégia Nacional de Educação para a Cidadania - ENEC).

• Curriculum Guidelines for Pre-school Education (Orientações Curriculares para a Educação Pré-Escolar - OCEPE).

• Essential Learning (Aprendizagens essenciais - AE) – Despatch No 6944-A/2018 and Despatch No 8476-A/2018.

• Legal framework for inclusive education - Decree-Law No 54/2018, 6 July, with amendments introduced by Law No 116/2019, 13 September).

This legislation is based on principles and strategies designed to support successful learning for every student. The response to diversity and different support needs for all students will be implemented using a multilevel approach that supports learning and inclusion. The focus on diversity will be operationalised within the teaching and learning process through universal, selective and additional measures.

As specialised staff and members of the multidisciplinary team to support inclusive education (Decree-Law No 54/2018, 6 July, with amendments introduced by Law No 116/2019, 13 September), psychologists play a key role in students’ holistic development, taking into account learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and to live with others and learning to be.

It is also worth mentioning the importance of psychologists in the field of prevention, whether related to violence and risky behaviour, as well as to issues related to learning and development.

The psychologist:

• provides school staff with technical and scientific support.

• works with families and other members of the community on child development issues.

• assesses and intervenes in psychological and psycho-pedagogical areas, proposing appropriate educational measures and responses regarding the development of the student, specifically in the following areas: personal, socio-emotional, behavioural, and academic, among others.

• intervenes in the areas of development and academic/career guidance.

Psychological counselling

Psychological and psycho-pedagogical counselling is one of the activities psychologists undertake in schools. They employ a range of activities designed to help the student fully develop, intervening throughout their time at school, both in direct support and, above all, through collaborative work with teachers and other parts of the educational community. This involves differentiated educational responses and measures to support inclusion and learning.

Career/vocational guidance

Career guidance is one of the three areas where educational psychologists intervene. The guidance focus has been changing from intervention based on support that is time specific and contextualised to one that is ongoing.

At school, alongside individual work, according to their specific responsible, complementary work is needed among psychologists, management, teachers, families and other members and bodies of the educational community that requires the commitment and involvement of everyone, leading to more varied, comprehensive and suitable responses.

In the field of career development and career guidance, the psychology and guidance services (Serviços de Psicologia e Orientação- SPO) organise a range of activities in conjunction with other elements of the educational community, such as:

School management and administration bodies

  • Collaborating and supporting schools’ education and training provision.

Parents and guardians

  • Planning and organising awareness sessions for parents and guardians (and the community in general) regarding aspects inherent to the process of making education and career decisions for their children.
  • Planning and organising information events about education and training provision.

Qualifica centres

  • Participating in sessions and events in the area of education and training, and transition to the job market.
  • Collaborating in transition processes between education and training pathways.

Local authorities

  • Participating at events about education and training provision and other initiatives focussed on children and young people.

Higher education

  • Collaborating in the organisation of activities that support the transition to higher education.

Business community

  • Collaborating in the organisation of work-related training.
  • Collaborating in the organisation of events in the field of school and student capacity building in terms of work.
  • Collaborating in the organisation of internships.