Updated: 13/09/17 : 06:49:46
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Councillor calls for school guidance support

At the September meeting of Sligo County Council, Councillor Keith Henry called for additional supports to be given to secondary schools to improve guidance counselling.

Cllr Henry, who is also Leas Cathaoirleach of the Council and a teacher at Carrick on Shannon Community School, informed the council that the area has been underfunded for a number of years.

“Schools have seen reductions in funding allocated to guidance counselling which has resulted in less time being made available to students in most cases” he said.

"School guidance counsellors engage with students providing them with one-to-one advice on personal, educational and vocational matters. “The run up to Leaving Cert in particular is a very stressful time and many are at a loss as to what to do after secondary. One in six students who start in college don’t continue into the following year.

"This is at a huge cost to their parents and the state. Investing in proper guidance which can guide people to proper courses or indeed away from colleges as not everyone needs to go to one, could actually save more money that it costs” the Ballymote Fianna Fáil Councillor informed the Council.

“This is a ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ case. A small investment by the Department of Education would allow guidance counsellors time to upskill and provide more one-to-one guidance and give them the best chance of pointing people in the right direction. If we’re serious about investing in the future of our children then here is a sector that could help save money and help students at a stressful time,” concluded Cllr Henry.

The motion which was unanimously passed by the Council will be forwarded to the Minister for Education Richard Bruton.