We now have come to the realisation that changes to the allocation of ex quota hours in second level schools has resulted in a serious inequality in the access of counselling and guidance services to our students. Equal access to services and education is no longer the norm and will result in a process of restorative justice instead of proactive and positive personal development to students who are at a most vulnerable stage of their social, personal and educational development. The rollout of the new is being heralded as a new era in education where our young people will have the opportunity to promote, engage and develop their talent and ability to find themselves able to articulate their voice, their thoughts and their feelings in a group dynamic without fear of been derided or put down in a safe and holistic environment.
However, as it stands at this point and time and for many young people, this is not reflected either in their home or school life and quite often life itself gets in the way. The need for the contact with, and availability if fully qualified guidance counsellor to our children have never been more paramount
We are calling on the Minister for Education to now look at the effect that the cutbacks to date and the impact on the the student population and on the marginalised in particular .
All the evidence points to the fact that the students who need the services and recourses the most are to be the ones most unable to access them.
Stated government policy on Progression , Retention ,and Social Inclusion is being totally ignored and overlooked.
The Guidance Counsellors room is the one room in the school setting where our students can go without fear of any speculative thinking by their peers as to the reason for their visit .It is quite often under the guise of subject choice, career guidance and college choice that our students go to their counsellor , when in fact it may be the opportunity to unravel serious personal issues in a safe and confidential environment.
Before we have to deal with a negative fall out from this regressive decision we would appeal for common sense to prevail and new measures put in place to ensure the social mental and educational needs of our children and this country’s future are secured.