Student Counselling Files Policy

This policy sets out requirements for the establishment, use and storage of student counselling files.

Changes since previous version

2020 July – update to contact details, text and style.

Superseded Documents

Access to Registered Guidance Files 91/150 (S.097)

Document History

The name has been changed from Registered Guidance Files to Student Counselling Files.
All records kept by school counsellors, including case notes, are now maintained on a student counselling file.
The principal is now responsible for ensuring that student counselling files can be stored securely and that access to the student counselling file is restricted to members of the school counselling service.
There is an additional requirement that the school counsellor will pass on information to the principal where there is a legal or departmental requirement to disclose information or where one or more individuals may experience serious harm if someone with the power to act is not informed. These situations may include but are not limited to suspected child abuse or neglect, pregnancy of a student under 16 years of age, the student having a history of violent behaviour, improper conduct by a school staff member and use/and or possession of illegal substances. Information must be sufficient to inform action whilst maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive detail.

  1. Policy statement
    1. Student counselling files are confidential department records relating to significant psychological interventions with individual students by school counselling staff. They are state-wide rather than individual school records.
    2. All records on students kept by school counselling staff, including case notes, are maintained on a registered student counselling file.
    3. Information held on student counselling files may be released only in accordance with the provisions of the department’s Privacy Code of Practice and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
    4. The presumption of confidentiality is overridden in circumstances where there is a legal or departmental requirement to disclose information or where one or more individuals may experience serious harm if someone with the power to act is not informed.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. These requirements apply to all student counselling files.
  3. Context
    1. the department's Privacy Code of Practice
    2. the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002
    3. the department's Psychological Tests Policy
    4. the department’s Legal Issues Bulletin number 40, Collection, use and disclosure of information about students with a history of violence.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. School counselling staff are responsible for maintaining all student records kept by them, including case notes, on a registered student counselling file.
    2. School counselling staff are required to pass on information to the principal where there is a legal or departmental requirement to disclose information or where one or more individuals may experience serious harm if someone with the power to act is not informed. These situations may include, but are not limited to, suspected child abuse or neglect, pregnancy of a student under 16 years of age, the student having a history of violent behaviour, improper conduct by a school staff member and use/and or possession of illegal substances. Information must be sufficient to inform action while maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive detail.
    3. Principals are responsible for restricting access to student counselling files to school counselling staff.
    4. Principals are responsible for ensuring the availability of secure storage for student counselling files.
    5. School counselling staff are responsible for securely storing student counselling files.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Leader, Counselling Services will monitor the implementation of the policy through regular audits of student counselling files and report to the Director, Student Engagement and Interagency Partnerships as required.
      The Learning and Wellbeing directorate is responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy and reviewing its effectiveness every three years
  6. Contact
    1. Leader, Counselling Services
      02 7814 2942
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