I recently asked Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, in view of the impact of the Government’s decision in December 2011 to change the ex-quota status of the role of the guidance counsellor in second level schools, if she had plans to reverse this cut in the next budget.
I have expressed his disappointment that the Minister’s reply offered little hope for hard-pressed Post-Primary schools who have had to deal with the serious cut-back. The Minister’s reply, while acknowledging “that bringing guidance with quota is challenging for schools” still has not signalled any commitment to re-instate the “ex-quota” role of the Guidance Counsellor in our schools.
“Many schools have described this cut as the cruellest of all cuts and they point out that never before was there a greater need for pastoral care in our Post primary schools. It is unfair to ask that the guidance role be spread among the whole staff unit as this can only lead to a disjointed service instead of the students having access to somebody they can trust and who has the expertise and the time to deal with their problems”