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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

School career guidance as regards transition from primary to lower secondary level or changes in subject or level of difficulty at lower secondary and upper secondary level is primarily the task of the school itself. The teachers or the school head form the contact point for pupils and their parents. General information on the transition from primary level to lower secondary level is provided by the cantonal school authorities.

For young people who do not enter upper secondary level directly after completing the lower secondary level, interim solutions are available such as bridge-year courses. They provide guidance and help young people make decisions on post-compulsory education.


Psychological Counselling

School psychology services offer assessment services and counselling for all involved in the school environment. Their duties include examining the readiness to start school and learning and behavioural problems, and counselling parents, pupils, teachers and school authorities, cooperation with other specialist staff, special services and public relations work. They refer individuals to other suitable special services, and supervise and monitor the measures introduced.

Psychiatric services for children and young people have the task of examining and treating children and young people with mental health problems, and general examination functions.

School social work has become established in recent years as a new programme of support for schools. School social work takes the burden off schools and allows them to concentrate on their core tasks in the educational field. School social workers are the point of contact as regards social questions and problems in school and in the family. School social workers draw on a network of institutions, associations and specialised contact points.


Career Guidance

Each canton maintains a coordinating body for occupational, study and career guidance. Depending on the size of the canton there may be additional regional occupational, study and career guidance offices. Persons with disabilities with concerns in the field of job and career planning can contact the Invalidity Insurance career guidance offices. For lower and upper secondary level pupils the regional occupational, study and career guidance offices provide comprehensive information and guidance. Usually information events are organised at the schools at which pupils and their parents are informed of the opportunities for career and study choices as well as entry into the labour market.

At lower secondary level specialist career guidance teachers support pupils with their choice of career, by inter alia supporting the personal development and the career choice competence of the young people, providing an insight into the world of work and supporting young people in organising work placements. Career guidance teaching takes place within the framework of mainstream teaching at lower secondary level or also at upper secondary level schools preparing for the world of work (bridge-year courses). If the young people have decided on a profession, specialist teachers provide assistance in finding an apprenticeship, such as in writing and compiling the application file. Specialist career guidance teachers work closely together with those involved in the career identification process, e.g. with parents, career guidance offices, companies, authorities and VET schools.

After completing compulsory education or upper secondary level, as well as bridge-year courses young people can also complete a motivation semester. The motivation semester is a labour market programme specially designed for unemployed young people with the aim of offering them a fixed structure for six months and allowing them to choose their educational path. “VET Case Management” staff work across institutional boundaries to help young people who are at risk of not making a successful transition to vocational training.