The National Student Executive of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union (ISSU) expresses their concern following reports that in over half of second-level schools nationwide, 1 in 6 are using unqualified guidance counsellors. Particularly of concern is the drop in guidance counselling hours being offered in public schools versus the slight increase in fee-paying schools since 2012. Guidance counselling is an essential service for all students and should not be limited or withheld due to students’ socio-economic background or their ability to pay for such a service.
However, the National Student Executive also welcomes the pledge from the newly formed government to reinstate guidance counselling hours to all schools. It is vital that teachers assigned to these posts have the relevant experience and qualifications to fulfill their roles so that students receive the adequate support and advice they need. We are advocating for the re-introduction of guidance counsellors to all second-level schools.