Saturday 25 November 2017

Warning over cuts to career guidance

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

CUTS to career guidance will leave pupils exposed to making poor choices when they leave school, the ESRI think tank has warned.

The ESRI report says that investment in education is "perhaps unique in having the potential to impact on generations to come". It warns about the impact of Budget cuts to career guidance in schools, and how this will affect pupils.

It has been the practice for schools to get extra teaching hours for career guidance, which were over and above their general allocation.

But from next September, they will have to provide the guidance service from within their general teacher allocation. It amounts to the abolition of about 500 posts.

The ESRI warns that the removal of the guidance allocation will affect the capacity of schools to advise in the selection of appropriate subjects or career choices, and to provide personal and social supports.

The ESRI took the opportunity to comment on the loss of the special career guidance allocation in a report on how to improve second-level education, published today.


The report, by Emer Smyth and Selina McCoy, is based on a compilation of findings of research done both in Ireland and abroad in recent years.

"In the context of scarce resources, it is all the more important that decisions in relation to expenditure allocations should be guided by the existing evidence base," it states.

Another key recommendation is an end to the practice of "streaming", where pupils are segregated based on ability.

The report also states that a positive school climate, with good interaction between teachers and students, contributes to better academic achievement, less stress and less early school leaving.

Teaching methods that actively engage the pupils can also make an appreciable difference to student achievement, the report states. The report touches on the issue of teacher qualifications, particularly in the area of maths. It notes one report that found students made more progress when taught by teachers who had more Maths training, while another pointed to the strong influence of a good teacher.

The ESRI notes that while Ireland can learn from what other education systems "have got right", a range of social, economic, and cultural factors meant it was not always possible to transplant measures that have worked well elsewhere.

Irish Independent

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