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Government must reverse cuts to guidance counselling posts – Crowe

18 January, 2012 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has urged the government to reverse the cuts to career guidance counselling posts that were brought about as a result of December’s budget.

Deputy Crowe said:

“This government continues to target the most vulnerable young people in our school system in a bid to save money. The possible loss of hundreds of school guidance counsellors will have serious and far reaching implications for children because of the essential role they play in supporting young people’s educational, emotional and mental well-being.

“This will cause significant damage to our education system that is already reeling from cuts to DEIS Schools, the reduction in capitation grants, the suspension of summer work’s schemes, increases to the pupil/teacher ratios, hikes in the contribution fees for students, cuts to CE schemes, as well as increases in the cost of school transport and the reduction in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

“School Guidance Counsellors play a vitally important role and they are often the first point of contact for young people when they experience difficulties at home and at school.

“They are one of the few free supports available and they help young people on a range of issues during times of crisis.

“We know from the department’s own figures that there are simply too many children with educational, emotional and behavioural difficulties for schools to manage without support teachers. I believe that now, more than ever, we need guidance counselling services in our schools. We face an unprecedented economic crisis that has serious implications for thousands of families who face the nightmare of unemployment. This has a huge impact on the well-being of young people and school counsellors are very often able to help.

“These cuts will undermine their basic right to receive an education in a calm and safe environment and will result in more suspensions and expulsions. It will cause significant disruption in classrooms and will end up costing the taxpayer more in the long run

“Hundreds of career guidance teachers will also lose their positions if the government presses ahead with what was announced in December’s budget. They will be moved out of their role and will start teaching again in the classroom. As a result of this change in policy, many of the young teachers they will be replacing will lose their jobs.

“Most importantly, the mental health and general well-being of our students will suffer. On the back of last week’s Sinn Féin motion the Minister agreed to review the cuts to DEIS schools. He now needs to do the same and ensure that school counsellors are retained at their present levels.”

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