GUIDANCE counsellors in the Dundalk area have re-iterated their concern about the provision of guidance and counselling services in schools going in to the new academic year next August.
According to local guidance counsellors, school managers are under severe pressure as maintaining current guidance services could involve an increase in class size or the removal of some Leaving Certificate subjects.
The statement comes following the announcement in last December’s budget that the provision of guidance and counselling services in schools would be subsumed into the general teacher allocation, guidance
The change brought about in the budget will result in the loss of 22 teaching posts in Co Louth according to the Teachers Union of Ireland.
Guidance counsellors might also be required to take on additional teaching subjects as well as provide some form of guidance and counselling service.
The guidance and counselling service in schools begins each academic year in mid-August as the Leaving Certificate results are issued to give students and parents support and advice as they review exam performance and consider college offers.
The proposed changes will “totally undermine the relationship that is core to bringing about therapeutic change”, according to local guidance counsellors who claim there has been a huge increase in the number of students availing of counselling on a daily basis.
Guidance counsellors also help students with issues such as exam stress, bullying, addiction, self-harm, abuse, family separation, bereavement, self-esteem and suicide ideation.
According to a statement issued by local guidance counsellors, “Guidance and counselling is a vital service within our schools which helps safeguard young people’s mental health and further their educational and career prospects...
“All guidance counsellors, in the Dundalk and surrounding areas, have actively lobbied and spoken to elected representatives across the political divide over the past five months in an effort to highlight their concerns for students and seek a reversal of the cuts...
“We will continue to highlight our concerns in the coming months and urge parents to support us in our efforts.”