The role of school counsellors in supporting teaching and learning in schools of skills in the Western Cape
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Current debates in education and education support focus on the importance of schools needing to facilitate the holistic development of learners and also ensuring the achievement of educational objectives. This study focused on the need for counsellors to support teaching and learning in Schools of Skills and investigated challenges that emerged when school counsellors facilitate school development. The research question which framed this study was, what is the role school counsellors play in supporting teaching and learning and school development? A mixed methods approach that employed both qualitative and quantitative techniques was adopted in an attempt to construct a rich and meaningful picture of school counselling practice within School of Skills. Participants included principals, counsellors and educators at four schools of skills situated in the Western Cape. The data collection process included interviews and questionnaires. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with the four principals and the four school counsellors and questionnaires including both open-ended and closed questions were completed by educators. The findings illuminate the psycho-social barriers experienced by learners and how school counsellors can support learners. Roles of school counsellors are varied and involve the provision of support to various members of the school community in addition to teaching and administration. Challenges faced by school counsellors were highlighted as lack of human resources, lack of support and workload. The recommendations are presented as suggestions for consideration at various levels in the system, from micro (level of the individual) to macro (level of the state).
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