Thursday 30 March 2017

Helpline advice hits mark for minister

Left to right, Irish Independent education editor John Walshe; Children's Minister Barry Andrews; Rose Tully, PRO of National Parents' Council; Eilish Coakley, president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors; and Eircom's Emer Kennedy at the launch
Left to right, Irish Independent education editor John Walshe; Children's Minister Barry Andrews; Rose Tully, PRO of National Parents' Council; Eilish Coakley, president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors; and Eircom's Emer Kennedy at the launch

Children's Minister Barry Andrews has revealed that he was one of the first to use an exam helpline when he did his Leaving Cert in the mid-1980s.

"The person at the other end of the phone advised me not to pursue the course I was interested in, which was journalism," said the minister.

He took their advice and instead went on to become a secondary school teacher after taking an MA in history at UCD.

As a former teacher, he said that he recognised how "extremely difficult" a time Leaving Cert students could face when they got their results and praised the "outstanding" service offered by the National Parents Council (post primary) helpline over many years.

It was a huge support for thousands of young people when they obtained their results as they often faced many choices and were not sure what to do, he added.

The helpline -- which opens tomorrow morning at 8am -- is sponsored by Eircom and the Irish Independent and the calls are dealt with by professionally trained members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.

Institute president Eilis Coakley said students and their parents would be sure of an "empathetic" ear when they phoned for advice or information. The helpline is supported by the Department of Education and Skills.

Irish Independent

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