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The Latin phrase ‘cura personalis’ is common to all Jesuit educational institutions. It might be translated, literally, as ‘care of the individual’. A central tenet of Jesuit educational philosophy is that the whole pedagogical process is based on the individual student, recognizing that he or she has particular needs, talents, and potential, and that the educator must take these into account in the formation of each student.


Guidance Counselling

What is Guidance?

A School Guidance Programme refers to the range of learning experiences which a school provides in response to the guidance needs of its students and its available resources. The Guidance programme at Gonzaga College SJ is provided in a developmental sequence, designed and maintained to assist students to cope with their life experiences. These experiences may be categorised into three distinct, but interlinked areas:


  • Personal and Social

  • Educational

  • Career


All our Guidance activities are rooted in the “Cura Personalis” characteristic of the Jesuit education designed to help the students grow holistically, to think for themselves and develop their diverse competencies.


We have a full time Guidance Counsellor who is responsible for managing, co-ordinating and ensuring delivery of the annual Guidance Plan which is designed to deliver the objectives of the overall school Guidance Programme


The Guidance programme is informed by best practice guidelines from the National Centre for Guidance Education (NGCE) and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.


Team Approach

A team approach is the preferred and most effective way of delivering our programme in Gonzaga College SJ. We recognise that guidance is both a whole school concern and a specialist area within education. The Guidance programme dovetails with other school programmes which themselves may address guidance related issues. These other areas include:


  • Pastoral Care

  • Social, Personal and Health Education

  • Religious Education

  • Civic, Social and Political Education

  • Transition Year programmes


Across the School

Guidance provision in Gonzaga College SJ is delivered as a whole school programme across all years. In the Junior Cycle the SPHE programme forms the basis of the Guidance Programme delivered by Form tutors. Students can see the Guidance Counsellor at any time or can be referred directly to the Guidance Counsellor by management and staff. In 4th Year a classroom based Guidance programme is delivered including the completion of a full Guidance project. In 4th-6th Year all students are counselled on a one to one basis.


The Guidance Counsellor in Gonzaga is Sharon Byron-Smith Q.M.I.G.C.


Director of Ignatian Formation and Services Programmes

The Director of Ignatian Formation and Services Programmes, Ms Kiara Desmond, seeks to maintain, foster and develop the Jesuit identity of the College, through the Religous Education programmes, retreats, awareness and aid projects and faith formative Youth Camps, organised in conjunction with Scripture Union’s youth branch, ‘Authentic Youth’.


She organises and oversees the Religious Education programme in conjunction with the Diocesan Advisers for Religious Education and the Jesuit Province. There are three R.E. class periods weekly for all six years. In Sixth year, the R.E. programme continues right up to the end of the final Sixth year term. The Leaving Cert. State R.E. examination is an option at Senior Cycle.


There is a retreat programme for all six years. See here for more details.


Cultivating all aspects of Faith Formation including the Sacramental life of the School, are the responsibility of the Director of Ignatian Formation and Services Programmes.



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