IGC Response to Document on Supporting Wellbeing in Schools

Press Release in Response to the Government Announcement on the Restoration of Guidance Allocation.

 

The Institute of Guidance Counsellors, is delighted to welcome yesterday’s announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills, Norma Foley. In the document:

Supporting the wellbeing of school communities as schools reopen: Guidance for schools document https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/52642-supporting-the-wellbeing-of-school-communities-as-schools-reopen-guidance-for-schools/

Minister Foley states that:

“Approximately 120 posts will be provided for guidance to support student wellbeing recognising the particular importance for this support in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic challenges”

We deliver personal, social, educational and vocational guidance work to learners across their lifespan encompassing students from 1st year in post primary school to adult client’s post retirement. Guidance counsellors fully support any government decision motivated by a wish to improve the quality and supply of resources available to us. We are highly motivated to deliver guidance counselling to those in our care and to support all learners in their learning and decision making processes as they progress and transition through the education system to the next stage in their learning and ultimately to the labour market.

Guidance counsellors are ready for the challenges ahead in addressing the heavy toll that COVID-19 has inflicted on our young. The school community is bracing itself for Round 2 of the equivalent of a Critical Incident that is both sustained and on a national level. The restoration of the 120 guidance counselling posts is a show of confidence and support from our policy makers which has re-energised our members for the demanding year ahead. 120 extra guidance counselling posts will empower us to better combat the effects of the Pandemic on our students. Our members are currently signing up to engage in high quality CPD in Reality Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) this year. This CPD will nourish and sustain guidance counsellors in their one to one guidance counselling work as they support anxious and distressed students returning to school. This CPD will furnish our members with the requisite skills to comfort bereaved and confused students, students experiencing anger, fear, stress and other negative emotions that interfere with their ability to concentrate and to learn.

The potential value of guidance counselling is well established and it is multifaceted with benefits to both the individual and to the wider economy (Indecon 2019; Hooley and Dodd 2015; OECD 2018). Indecon (2019) recognised this in their 2019 Review of Guidance when they stated:

“Enhanced career guidance also has the potential to reduce exchequer costs by contributing to tackling unemployment levels in certain cohorts of the labour force.  There is also potential for exchequer impacts via reducing the dropout rates in third-level education and by increasing productivity.” (p.72)

We look forward to engaging with the Minister for Education and her department through the process of supporting students and parents through COVID-19 together.

We would like to thank all of our educational partners and labour market stakeholders who have supported the IGC on the long and challenging journey of securing our lost allocations. The IGC  would like to acknowledge in particular the ISSU, NPCPP and UNICEF who collaborated with the IGC on our recent Campaign to Secure Enhanced Resources for Students Returning to Schools. They have worked tirelessly with us all summer collaborating with us on every step of the campaign. School is a community, never more so than now. We face sobering challenges in the months ahead, but the IGC are confident that working together with all partners and stakeholders and pulling in the same direction we can achieve collective goals, keep everyone safe and continue to deliver a first class education to our students.

 

Beatrice Dooley

President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.