Article 91 of Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE), as amended by Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE), establishes among its principles the educational and professional orientation of the students as a necessary instrument for the achievement of a personalised training process that may foster a comprehensive education in knowledge, skills and values.
Professionals in charge of guidance in non-university education institutions are career civil servant teachers, meaning that their initial training and their working conditions are, generally, with some exceptions, similar to the rest of the civil servant teachers.
At classroom level, the tutor-teacher of the group of pupils tutors the students, directs and guides their learning and supports them in their educational process, in collaboration with their families, as indicated in article 91 of the LOE as amended by the LOMLOE.
At pre-primary and primary education levels, class teachers focus on the pupils’ satisfactory integration into the group of classmates, whereas at secondary education, they focus more on specific aspects of academic and professional guidance.
Class teachers are appointed by the school head from among the teaching staff of the educational institution, at the proposal, in most Autonomous Communities, of the head of studies, and for one-year period, which may be extended annually.
School counselors belong to the internal and external guidance structures that intervene directly in education institutions. In primary education, there is usually, depending on the number of pupils, one educational guidance team assigned to several schools. In secondary education, each secondary school has a guidance department. Depending on the Education Administration, there may be changes in the name of these units: specific teams, inclusion teams, early intervention teams...
These professionals belong to the body of Secondary Education teachers, and more specifically, to the branch of Educational Guidance.
According to the provisions of Article 13 of Royal Decree 276/2007, in order to join this teaching body in this speciality, it is necessary to hold:
- a PhD, a Bachelor's degree, a degree in Engineering or Architecture, or the corresponding degree or other equivalent qualifications for teaching purposes;
- pedagogical and teaching training at postgraduate level (University Master's Degree in Teacher Training for Secondary Education, Bachillerato, Vocational Training and Language Teaching). For those specialities that cannot be completed in the Master's programme, an equivalent official certification will be required from 1 September 2015.
The different educational authorities establish the counselor's functions in Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Education centres. Some of these responsibilities are to:
- coordinate academic and professional guidance activities;
- provide advice to the Pedagogical Coordination Commission;
- participate in the prevention and identification of learning issues;
- conduct the psycho-pedagogical evaluation of students in need of one;
- participate in the curricular adaptations of students with educational support needs;
- provide advice on the development of social guarantee programmes;
- provide support, advice and specific guidance to all students at non-university levels;
- cooperate with the educational establishments and their teaching staff in the development of projects for different activities, tutorials, and academic and professional guidance;
- be responsible for the psycho-pedagogical evaluation of students and contribute to the efforts of the Pedagogical Coordination Commission or similar body in the schools;
- advise families.
In the Secondary Education institutions of some Autonomous Communities they also teach subjects related to their field.
In some Autonomous Communities, the internal and external orientation structures also include:
- Technical Teachers of Community Service (PTSC), belonging to the Vocational Training Technical Teachers Body. They are responsible for identifying students with high rates of school absence, analysing their causes, ensuring their return to school and their successful reintegration.
- School teachers specialised in Therapeutic Pedagogy (PT) and school teachers specialised in Hearing and Speech (AL), with the corresponding specialities. To join this body, it is necessary to have a university degree in Primary Education with the specialities of Hearing and Language or Therapeutic Pedagogy, respectively. These professionals undertake teaching duties related to attending to the diversity of the student body, preferably students with specific academic support needs.