Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 10 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

  264. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the ratio of teachers to pupils in career guidance and counselling services at second level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28428/04]

  Ms Hanafin: Under current arrangements, my Department makes a specific ex-quota allocation of teaching posts in respect of guidance to schools in the second level system. In the case of schools in the free education scheme, the level of allocation ranges from eight hours per week in the case of schools with enrolments below 200 pupils to 44 hours per week — that is, two whole-time posts — in the case of schools with an enrolment of 1,000 pupils or more.

In addition to allocations based on enrolments, 50 whole-time equivalent guidance counselling posts were allocated in the 2001-02 school year under the guidance enhancement initiative. The focus of this initiative was to enhance the provision of guidance to young people at risk, to improve links between schools and the world of work and to improve the take-up of science subjects.

My predecessor recently announced an extension of the guidance enhancement initiative for a further two years and also created an additional 30 guidance posts under this initiative from the commencement of the current school year. This decision reflects the high priority given to guidance by my Department.