Nine in 10 school principals don't believe they are delivering an adequate guidance service to pupils - and most feel it needs to be increased by 50pc.
The latest concerns about gaps in the service offered to second-level students emerge in a survey by Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), formerly the VEC sector, which covers about one in three post-primary schools.
Schools lost an entitlement to hours for guidance and counselling in 2012 and the service is now provided from their standard quota of teaching hours.
The cuts have had a big impact on the time available to students and have also increased the workload for principals and deputy principals.
The survey highlights the concerns of principals and deputy principals about the inadequacy of middle management structures generally in schools and the impact on their capacity to implement educational reforms.
ETBI General Secretary Michael Moriarty said there was a need for a forum to develop practical proposals for addressing the issues.