FIANNA Fáil TD for Cork North Central, Billy Kelleher, has expressed his dismay at the Government’s decision to proceed with dismantling the special provision for guidance counsellors in secondary schools.
A Fianna Fáil motion to reverse the Budget 2012 measure to cut guidance counsellors in 700 schools nationwide was voted down by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition last week in a decision described as “extremely regressive” by Deputy Kelleher.
“The cuts to guidance counsellors’ posts will adversely affect schools throughout Cork.
“It is extremely regressive and sadly it is the students that will again bear the brunt of the savage Government cuts.
“Not alone do guidance counsellors provide valuable advice for students making the huge decision of what career path they pursue after school, the mentoring and support for students who may be experiencing mental health issues is just as important.
“All secondary schools in Cork will now be forced to include guidance counsellors within their teaching allocation if they want to keep the service but it will more than likely mean the school being forced to drop another subject.
“These cuts will result in increased class sizes and reduced teacher numbers while 700 secondary schools around the country will lose qualified guidance counsellors,” he said.
Deputy Kelleher urged Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to rethink the decision and keep the guidance counselling service for secondary schools.
“There will be no transition period for the 700 schools nationwide and the guidance counsellors will be lost in September.
“We have seen the Government promise to review the cuts to teachers in the DEIS schools but people will not be fooled by these empty reviews.
“We will also be faced with cuts to student/teacher ratios in small rural schools throughout Cork as the Government show their intent to slash and burn their way through the country’s education system.”