About the School Counselling Service

The NSW School Counselling Service plays a key role in supporting students, parents, teachers and school staff in public schools across the state.

What is the School Counselling Service

School Counselling Service staff support students by providing a psychological counselling, assessment and intervention service.

The School Counselling Service works directly with students to help them with issues related to learning, peer and family relationships, and managing emotions such as depression, anxiety, worry or isolation.

The School Counselling Service includes school counsellors and school psychologists. Our staff are highly skilled and play a crucial role, in supporting children and young people to thrive and succeed at school, making a real difference in the lives of children and young people.

The NSW Department of Education currently employs over 1,200 School Counselling Service staff working across all public schools from Pre-School to Year 12 across a diverse range of school settings in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas of New South Wales.

Every student has access to a school counsellor or a school psychologist.

Information about the School Counselling Service is available in over 35 lanaguages.

Special knowledge, skills and experience of School Counselling Service staff

Our School Counselling Service staff are uniquely qualified members of school teams. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behaviour to help children and young people succeed academically, socially, behaviourally, and emotionally.

School counselling staff work with teachers, families, school executive, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community.

Students and parents can contact their school counsellor or school psychologist directly through the school. School counsellors and school psychologists:

  • provide counselling to students individually or in groups
  • assess students with specific needs
  • work collaboratively with teachers and specialist staff
  • help families understand and manage their children’s learning and mental health needs
  • liaise with external agencies and other mental health professionals to provide coordinated, wrap around support for individual students.
Find out what motivated Martin, a psychologist, to join the school counselling service and what his experience has been working with his supervisor in a NSW public school.

Martin Fraser, School Psychologist, Allambie Heights Public School

I'd never really considered psychology as a career and never even aware of it, but I was fascinated by people, and then just coincidentally doing a couple of psychology electives and feeling like something clicked for me, and that was where a passion was and where I wanted to go.

I actually never even realised, just with the psychology, no education background, that I could work in a school.

Angela Helsloot, Principal, Allambie Heights Public School

Martin's an active school counsellor in the fact that he's not a person that believes he just sits in an office.

He sees his role in our school as integral to supporting everybody. And so with that, he will meet with parents, he will meet with staff, he will visit classrooms, he will run group sessions in our classrooms and in the playground.

Martin Fraser

I do a lot of group intervention as well. So working with a small group of people and focussing on common themes or areas of interest and needs, it's consulting with other staff and families.

There is an element of assessment as well, which can be academic, social, you know, assessing various risks and needs to young people.

Lauren Brincat, Senior Psychologist, Education

Sometimes people have a bit of a, I guess, preconceived notion as to what school counselling looks like. A lot of people are quite familiar with psychology in movies, which is lie down on the couch and tell me your feelings, tell me about your childhood.

However, we're working with a really diverse group of young people from ages 3 through to 18, sometimes older, from different cultural backgrounds, in rural and remote areas, as well as in our metropolitan cities as well.

So I think some people are quite surprised when they know how integrated our service is within the school.

Martin Fraser

In my previous roles as a psychologist, I found working with adults and older populations that there had often been mental health issues present for a long time without ever accessing or receiving the right support.

And so for me, the principle of early intervention is going back to the younger ages when people are first starting to present with any kind of difficulties and trying to support them at that point.

And for me, there was no arena that made more sense than to work in the school system.

Angela Helsloot

His ability to work with staff, to work with students, and to work with parents actually just has everybody on the same page.

And sometimes those conversations are difficult to have with all stakeholders. And so Martin's calming presence and his knowledge is invaluable to us as a school community to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all.

Lauren Brincat

When you're working as a psychologist or a school counsellor, you're often working with quite emotionally demanding situations, and so if you are working in isolation, it could could lead to burnout.

So it's really important within my team, within the department, that we support one another to make sure that we're delivering, I guess, the best service to our young people.

Martin Fraser

The positive outcomes we do see working in the school environment is actually one of the best privileges of the job because you are part of that community.

So there's no greater feeling for me than when you can help someone else or be part of a positive aspect of their journey in life.

You can make such a difference in a role like this. And at the end of the day, if that's something that drives someone, I couldn't recommend it more highly.

[End of transcript]

School Counselling Service staffing roles and structure

The School Counselling Service is made of school counsellor and school pscyhologists who are supervised by senior psychologists education. Leaders of psychology practice provide leadership support to senior psychologists education.

Become a school counsellor or school psychologist

The NSW Department of Education is the largest education provider in Australia with over 2,200 schools and over 800,000 students, and one of the largest employers of psychologists in the state.

Learn more about how to become a school counsellor of school psychologist and hear from our staff about this life-changing service.

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