People for Education Report on Ontario guidance counsellors
Today, People for Education released a report examining the role of Ontario guidance counsellors in elementary and secondary schools.
The following selections are from their news release:
“Since 2012, Ontario’s Ministry of Education has introduced extensive new policy to support students’ mental health and well-being, their social-emotional development, and their capacity to plan for work and education after graduation. Each one of these policies references guidance counsellors as key supports, however the province has no clear job description for the role, and funding for guidance counsellors remained relatively unchanged since the introduction of the provincial education funding formula in 1998.
Findings from the report show that in 2016:
- The average ratio of students to guidance counsellors in secondary school is 381 to 1. In 10% of secondary schools the ratio is as high as 595 students for every one guidance counsellor.
- Only 17% of elementary schools have guidance counsellors. And even in schools with grades 7 and 8, where research shows a high need for guidance support, only 25% of elementary schools report having a guidance counsellor, and very few have a counsellor full-time
The report recommends that the province take the following actions:
- Evaluate the range of current education policies that may include guidance counsellors in order to rationalize Ontario’s guidance programs and create greater alignment across the range of policies.
- Clarify the role of both elementary and secondary school guidance counsellors in a way that recognizes both the breadth of their responsibilities and their relative scarcity in Ontario’s K-12 schools.
- Improve elementary school guidance capabilities by altering the funding formula so that per pupil funding for guidance counsellors is provided for students in grades 7 and 8 at the same rate as it is for secondary school students.
- Explore cost-effective ways for guidance staff supports to be expanded in small-town rural areas where they are currently lacking compared to their urban-suburban peers.”
Here is the full 14-page report:
Hamlin, D., Hagen Cameron, D. & Watkins, E. (2016). Ontario’s guidance counsellors: Spread thinly in an environment of growing expectations. People for Education. Toronto. Retrieved from http://www.peopleforeducation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/P4E-Guidance-2016.pdf
Check it out!