Other than teachers who have an impact on pupils/students through teaching and assessment, school specialists have an important role in academic guidance, as stated in the Bylaw on Education Specialists’ Programme of Work.
A pedagogue works with new pupils/students on their adaptation, with those who have repeated the grade, those who are planning to change the school or direction or to switch from full-time to the part-time programme. The pedagogue is in charge of the identification and elimination of pedagogical causes of learning difficulties and behavioural problems, and they participate in the construction of pedagogical profiles and individual education plans when needed.
A psychologist is responsible for monitoring pupils/students’ progress in development and learning. They are responsible for the psychological (cognitive, social and emotional) assessment of all children applying for primary school. Further assessment of cognitive capacity, personality, motivation for learning, group dynamics and school achievements and professional orientation is carried on throughout the schooling. If any of these characteristics are problematic, the psychologist is required to assist with finding a solution and to support the concrete pupil/student in overcoming the problem through counselling sessions. The psychologist may introduce new learning techniques, independent studying techniques, as well as specific skills such as social, communication, problem/conflict-solving, decision-making skills etc. The psychologist is also responsible for identifying and supporting gifted pupils/students and suggesting possibilities for accelerated education programmes for them.
Psychologists in preschool institutions provide support to children who have difficulties in development, through group communication without separating a child from the group. Counselling sessions in this case are intended for parents and teachers in order to support them in their efforts to create a suitable environment for child development.
The psychologist provides support for children, individually or in group/class in accidental crises. Counselling sessions are carried out with both children and parents (when needed) in order to resolve the concrete child’s developmental, learning and behaviour difficulties. Psychologists monitor the adaptation of children newly admitted in the first grade or those transferred from another school and they provide support for any difficulties that arise during the process.
The psychologist participates in the identification of children who need additional educational or other support, and in the creation, implementation and monitoring of individual education plans. Counselling as part of school psychologists’ duties is regulated through the Bylaw on Education Specialists’ Programme of Work.
Career guidance in primary schools is provided by teachers, school pedagogues and psychologists. These activities are delivered on an individual basis (through direct work with pupils) or in groups (either through workshops or in class). Psychologists and pedagogues provide career guidance and counselling for pupils, including professional orientation, informing, assessment of capacities, interests, motivation and personality (defined by the Bylaw on Education Specialists’ Programme of Work). Activities on this level are primarily focused on professional orientation and helping pupils in the final years of primary school to make choices regarding the next level of education.
Psychologists carry out similar activities within career guidance in secondary schools. According to the Law on Secondary Education (2013), every school has a career guidance programme provided by the career guidance teams within schools. The team members are career practitioners, teachers and school specialists and their main roles are monitoring students’ individual development (abilities, motivation, career preferences etc) and cooperation with career guidance and counselling institutions in the local community. Until now, there have been several CPD programs envisaged to develop the staff competences in terms of providing career guidance.
Bylaw on standards of career guidance and counselling services (2019) is newly adopted policy document that defines four areas of standards of quality of career guidance services: Standards of career management skills, Standards of career guidance practitioners competences, Organizational standards and Standards of Program.
Standards of career management skills define key outcomes of quality career guidance and counselling services and can serve as a guideline for defining goals and outcomes of activities provided by the school.
Standards of career guidance practitioners competences are guidelines for self-assessment of career guidance practitioners – teachers and school pedagogues and psychologists competencies as well as for providers of CPD programs for guidance practitioners.
Organizational standards define key conditions for quality services regarding space, staff and documentation.
Standards of Program define key elements of quality program for career guidance and counselling services such as target group, goals, activities and methods, evaluation and monitoring etc.
This document serves as a basis for the improvement of the career guidance and counselling teams, their annual plans, realized activities and evaluation and monitoring process they shall conduct continuously.