independent

Wednesday 17 September 2014

'Guidance counsellors cut in funding was ill judged'

Published 23/08/2014 | 00:00

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With the Leaving Cert results published last week and CAO offers just going out, Cllr Ann Ahern has pointed to figures published by the ESRI on post school transition as evidence that the government's decision to cut funding for guidance counsellors was ill judged and is having a profound effect on young people in Carlow and nationwide.

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The ESRI report points to the relationship between social status and educational outcome and notes a special reliance on guidance counsellors from young people from economically disadvantaged and immigrant backgrounds.

The report also says that young people from less educated and/or working class families had less immediate knowledge of higher education in their social networks and, as a result, they were found to be more reliant on school-based sources of guidance.

'From the moment these cuts were announced, those involved at the coalface of education warned of the effect they would have and pointed out that they would hurt most those who are in most need of support,' said Cllr Ahern. 'Successive Governments have made real progress on tackling educational disadvantage and increasing participation at third level. By contrast, this Government is making regressive decisions that are undermining all of that work.'

Cllr Ahern said that the figures are worrying and show that guidance councillors are spending less than half (41%) the time on one-to-one counselling with pupils that they did just two years ago.

'I had hoped that with a change of minister we might see a more constructive approach but just last month when the issue was raised with the new Minister, Jan O'Sullivan, she indicated that there was no scope for reversing this destructive measure,' she said.

'It is hard to believe that the Government will continue to ignore the problem following the publication of this new report and my hope is that now the Minister will put the needs of students first.'

Carlow People

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