Professional Practice Framework

The Professional Practice Framework describes the capabilities required by school counselling staff to guide their professional practice and growth throughout their careers.

The Professional Practice Framework policy is specific to the school counselling service and supports a high quality psychological service for students and school communities.

The Professional Practice Framework identifies what is expected of school counselling service staff within four interconnected domains of psychological practice. They are:

  • Professional Practice
  • Relationships and Collaboration
  • Assessment
  • Intervention

Within the Professional Practice Framework there are three capability stages – Foundation, Established and Advanced – which provide benchmarks of professional growth and development for psychological practice.

Watch the animation for an outline of key information about the framework

The New South Wales Department of Education prioritises student mental health and wellbeing and a key component of this is the school counselling service who are qualified professionals required to continually develop their practice.

That's why we have introduced the Professional Practice Framework policy for the school counselling service. The Professional Practice Framework outlines the capabilities required by school counselling staff and supports their professional development and growth.

As of the first of January 2021, all school counselling staff are required to be certified against the PPF and maintain this certification.

The PPF has 3 capability stages: Foundation, Established and Advanced.

All school counselling staff are required to work toward and maintain Established Certification.

Established Certification recognises an ability to apply psychological expertise and work independently to support student mental health and wellbeing.

Most school counselling staff employed before the first of January 2021 transitioned onto the PPF with established certification or conditionally established if they had worked for less than 6 months, or were completing a training pathway.

From the first of January 2021, staff entering the school counselling service through scholarship pathways or with provisional registration as a psychologist will begin the certification process at the Foundation capability stage.

Staff will have 3 years working full time or 5 years working part time to gain Established Certification.

Once certified, all staff begin their maintenance cycle.

The PPF has an annual maintenance cycle that aims to continuously develop and refine the professional practice of school counselling staff.

The annual cycle requires one performance and development plan supported by their practice supervisor and base school principal.

The PDP will include a selection of PPF capabilities.

The maintenance cycle also requires Psychology Board of Australia registration as a psychologist, unless a school counsellor is covered by a transitional arrangement clause.

Engagement in at least 20 hours of relevant professional learning activities relating to psychological practice and 10 hours of consultation activities with practice supervisors and peers.

Advanced Certification is a voluntary capability stage that some members of the school counselling service may choose to apply for. Advanced Certification recognises exemplary professional practice, skills and leadership within the school counselling service.

For further information, contact your local school counselling service staff or email

More information

The Professional Practice Framework and supporting documentation is on the staff-only Professional Practice Framework page.

For enquiries, please email


  • Teaching and learning


  • Professional development

Business Unit:

  • Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Teaching, Learning and Student Wellbeing
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