Tuesday, 13 December 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
454. Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Science her plans to restore the ratio of one guidance counsellor to 250 secondary school pupils, as was the standard in the past; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39083/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): My Department makes a specific ex-quota allocation of teaching posts in respect of guidance to schools in the second level system. That allocation is based on the pupil enrolment in September of the preceding school year. As a result of my decision to allocate an additional 100 posts to guidance from September 2005, an enhanced guidance allocation provision was put in place for the 2005-06 school year. That enhanced provision means that in the case of schools in the free education and block grant schemes, the level of allocation ranges from eight hours per week for schools with enrolments below 200 pupils to 47 hours per week for schools with an enrolment of 1,000 pupils or more. In addition, certain schools had previously been allocated hours in response to particular needs or as part of the guidance enhancement initiative, and such schools have been permitted to retain that higher allocation for the 2005-06 school year.
In the case of schools outside the free education and block grant schemes, 11 hours per week are allocated in respect of schools in the 350 to 499 enrolment category, and a full post is allocated in the case of schools with 500 or more pupils. My decision to allocate 100 additional posts to enhance existing provision reflects the importance which I attach to guidance.
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