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Crowe condemns decision to cut school guidance counsellors

6 December, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Deputy Seán Crowe believes that the Government’s plans to cut guidance counselling in this week’s budget will have far reaching consequences for young people who need support at school.

Deputy Crowe described as “appalling” the decision by Minister Ruairí Quinn to reduce the number of counsellors which he believes may also breach the 1998 Education Act.

Deputy Crowe said, “Last week’s announcement by Minister Quinn will mean many students who require emotional and psychological support will have nowhere to turn in a time of crisis. The loss of these essential posts comes against a backdrop in the alarming rise in the rate of suicides, self-harm and depression amongst young people. Added to this is the challenges faced by teachers who are in the frontline in dealing with bullying in the classroom.

“The Minister’s decision may also breach Section 9c of the 1998 Education Act which clearly states that one of a school’s functions is to ‘ensure that students have access to appropriate guidance to assist them in their educational and career choices.’

“Now more than ever we need guidance counselling services in our schools. The moratorium on assistant principal and special duty posts in schools means that there are less year heads and pastoral roles in our schools. The offices of guidance counsellors in our schools have become very busy with students needing support on a personal, educational and career level.

“This appalling decision by Minister Ruairí Quinn makes a mockery of Labour’s past commitment to ensure young people attending school have the proper supports available to ensure they can reach their educational potential. He has either been badly advised on the implications of this latest cut or has no understanding of how our schools operate and it is an issue he must re-exam.” ENDS

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