Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councillor Mary Hanafin has raised concerns about the impact of cuts to guidance counsellors on the 58,000 Leaving Cert students receiving their results today.

Cllr Hanafin said many of these students are being denied the professional advice that they will need in the coming weeks, as they make crucial decisions about their future.

The former Education Minister explained, “The latest figures show that there has been a 59% reduction in guidance counselling supports at second level as a result of Government cuts in Budget 2012.  Many schools have been left in the impossible position of having to choose between curriculum subjects and counselling supports.  The result has been a huge reduction in career guidance for school leavers.

“Students getting their Leaving Cert results today will have a series of important decisions to make in the coming weeks about college courses, alternative routes to their chosen careers and the approach that they should take as offers are released.  Some will be unhappy with their results and won’t be offered their first choice.  These school-leavers will need professional guidance through what is a critical time in their lives, from someone who knows them and who is armed with the information and expertise about the options available to them.

“Traditionally, all schools had a separate guidance counsellor provision to ensure that students were properly counselled on an individual basis about college and career options. But due to changes in the guidance provision, we are now left with a completely disjointed approach where students in some schools still have access this service while many others do not.  Unfortunately, tens of thousands of school leavers who received their results today will not have the traditional level of one-to-one guidance counsellor support available to them.

“The Government needs to reassess this very unfair situation.  It is the very students who need the most support that have been the worst affected by these cuts. Disadvantaged schools have seen a huge cut in guidance provision.  This is undoubtedly fuelling educational disadvantage.”