“SHAME, shame on Minister Quinn,” one Ferbane teacher said as schools are being placed in the unenviable position of choosing between guidance and counselling care supports and subject provision for their students under Budget 2012 cuts.
According to Ursula Finnegan, Deputy Principal and Guidance Counsellor, Gallen Community School, years of progress in the education system has been “thrown away” in this Budget.
She pointed to recent a ERSI report, which highlighted the need for increased one-to-one counselling in schools in relation to education and career decision making. “The proposed cut to the allocation of career guidance counsellors in our schools will severely affect the personal, educational and career support services to second level students and their parents with whom we frequently liaise with.”
Ms Finnegan re-iterated that the school guidance counselling service was never more critically needed in supporting young people suffering the consequences of increasing incidence of depression, self harm, neglect and anxiety regarding their families’ economic circumstances.
“The HSE services are stretched to capacity and it is to the guidance counsellors that students and parents turn to again and again and we simply not fair on them and the thousands of young people coming through the second level system.”
The Deputy Principal claimed the placing of the services within the quota is in effect an increase of the pupil teacher ratio by stealth.
“The same Minister is asking us to devise and implement a new Junior Certificate programme for the benefit of our young people, he was not thinking much of the benefit of our young people on Budget day,” Ms Finnegan added.