Maguire, Una (1971) The effectiveness of short-term counselling on secondary school pupils. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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When the first trained counsellors were appointed to English secondary schools in 1966 they found a variety of tasks awaiting their attention.

Because of the startling limitations of the school psychological and psychiatric services, and the reluctance of many parents to permit their children to be submitted to them, many children with problems in secondary schools would have waited indefinitely, or in vain, had not counsellors undertaken to do what they could. Some counsellors did respond to this challenge where they felt their own skill to be equal to what was required. Many more felt obliged to attempt to identify disturbed and troubled children, and to help them, and to use more sophisticated methods for identifying such children than had been available to teachers.

Since counsellors are not psychologists the number of diagnostic tests available to them for screening their school population was limited. Nor had the situation changed since 1966. Then as now only two reputable diagnostic tests were accessible to counsellors.
l. The Minnesota Counselling Inventory
2. The High School Personality Questionnaire
A study of the usefulness of these American tests in English schools as screening devices was clearly needed, as well as a study of the effects of counselling on the children identified as in need and where some attempt was made to help. It became apparent that many children were identified initially by these tests that would not otherwise be identified so soon, if at all during their school life, and that the increased number of such identified children far outstrips the resources of available psycho-medical specialist services.

It was also very soon apparent that counsellors were required to turn their attention to such a variety of tasks in school that the most these children could be spared was approximately one hour a week. In terms of the time available for the counselling of any one child this must be considered a generous allotment of time and is, in fact, equivalent to the period of time given to any child attending the child guidance clinic. Only a child in hospital or a residential special school could hope for more time and attention.
An urgent need then, in these early days of school counselling, is to investigate the value of available diagnostic screening questionnaires, and to discover how far children so identified are improved by the "generous" attention of the counsellor over a "reasonable" length of time, that is, a period that must be considered "generous" in view of the total load of commitments that confronts a counsellor in even a modest sized school.

It was decided to investigate the effects of counselling for one period a week over a school term, and compare performance on the questionnaires before and after counselling as a measure of counselling effectiveness.

If it can be shown that counsellors are able to help disturbed pupils who would otherwise receive no help, or who could be expected to wait a long time to receive any, then this is important information to help decide the most effective use of counsellors' time and energy and to help decide too the most appropriate training for school counsellors.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: For access to the hard copy thesis, check the University Library catalogue.
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2019 12:14
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:31

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