An independent study of second level guidance counsellors has found that Department of Education cutbacks last year led to a reduction of over 50% in the time available for one-to-one student counselling.

The study, for the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, also found the cutbacks have forced school management to divert guidance counsellors away from one-to-one engagements with students to more classroom-based duties.

Overall, there has been a 21% reduction in the time allocated to guidance and counselling services.