University of Limerick
Murray_2020__Exploration_provision.pdf (1.73 MB)

An exploration of the reallocation of guidance counselling provision between 2012 and 2019 in the post-primary sector:from the guidance counsellor’s perspective

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posted on 2021-01-26, 09:53 authored by Aisling Murray
This research study focuses on the implications of the removal of the ex-quota allocation for guidance counselling in the post-primary sector from 2012 -2019, incorporating any potential impact of the subsequent partial restoration of hours. Much has been written in relation to the impact of the re-allocation of guidance counselling provision arising from Budget 2012 (ASTI 2013; Connor 2013; Hearne et al. 2016; Leahy et al. 2016). These publications document a professional landscape that has been eroded as result of harsh austerity measures and in the wake of the storm, have left a vital service damaged and virtually decimated. However, it must be noted that little research has been made available in relation to the state of guidance counselling in the post-primary sector since the partial restoration of hours in 2017 (DES 2018; Hearne and Neary 2020). This study employed an interpretivist qualitative paradigm. Data collection was gathered through six semi-structured interviews with six guidance counsellors employed in the post-primary sector. Findings were produced by employing Braun and Clarke’s Thematic Analysis strategy (2006). The researcher carried out coding of the transcribed interviews and was able to elucidate themes from the data. Two primary themes emerged from the data – professionalism of the role of guidance counsellors in the post-primary sector and personal and professional wellbeing of the guidance counselling practitioner. Firstly, it came to light that guidance counsellors consider the role to be professional. They feel valued by other educational stakeholders and they feel people understand the purpose of the guidance counsellor. Secondly, it emerged from the data, that guidance counsellors feel that their workload can be overwhelming at times and that there are great challenges and difficulties associated with the role. For example, guidance counsellors feel they can oftentimes be inept at dealing with issues pertaining to mental health of teenagers and suggest that a lack of meaningful CPD may be the cause the problem. This research study may inform and improve future policy and practice in relation to guidance counselling in post-primary schools.



  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Hearne, Lucy





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