In mid-2017, a new law was adopted foreseeing that each secondary school would develop its own guidance approach. Although national targets will be defined, secondary schools can now choose autonomously the best guidance practices, taking into account their learner populations and allowing students to make informed decisions with a view to their choice of training.

The guidance approach has to be in line with the reference framework for school and professional guidance ([1]), a tool which will allow secondary schools to structure and monitor their existing guidance actions and initiatives, to evaluate them, and, if necessary, to introduce new initiatives. This approach enables secondary schools to adapt guidance practices to their situation, strengths and special needs, in collaboration with specialised services. The main goal is to provide the best possible guidance to students in transition and help them choose the training in which they will have a maximum of chances of success.

In each secondary school, a guidance unit is responsible for the orientation process set out in the school's development plan. It is composed of at least two members of the teaching staff, two educational or psychosocial staff and at least one guidance counsellor. In the framework of growing autonomy of secondary schools, the head of school is free to choose whether this guidance unit is to be integrated in the SPAS (Service psycho-social et d’accompagnement scolaires, the Psycho-social and educational accompaniment service) or whether it should be organised as separately.

The law also redefined the missions of the CPAS (Centre psycho-social et d’accompagnement scolaires, The Psycho-social and educational accompaniment centre) along three main pillars:

  • the CPAS aims to provide young people with the methods and knowledge enabling them to develop their ability to be responsible and independent, and to teach them self-guidance so that they become responsible for building their own personal and career plans (career management skills). After structured analysis, the CPAS proposes psychological, social and/or educational consultations. The key feature of this work is identification of the young people's resources and needs. The CPAS accompanies young people in active consideration of their skills, preferences and aspirations to develop a personal and professional project;
  • the CPAS is answerable to the Ministry of Education and coordinates the activities of the Psycho-social and educational accompaniment services in secondary schools while cooperating actively with the various departments of the House of Guidance;
  • the CPAS serves as a psycho-social resource centre for the SPAS in secondary schools and contributes to expanding their range of methods and tools and to give them the means of increasing the impact of their actions. The CPAS focuses its activities on conflict resolution and mediation. The CPAS will continue to receive young people out of school or wanting to reintegrate school into education and training.

More information: Reference framework for school and professional guidance (Cadre de référence pour l’orientation scolaire et professionnelle)


([1]) This reference framework has been elaborated by the Coordination Service of the Guidance House in collaboration with the stakeholders associated with the Guidance House and the the department for Coordination of Educational and Technological Research and Innovation (SCRIPT, Service de Coordination de la Recherche et de l’Innovation pédagogiques et technologiques).