Student counselling records and psychological tests

Requirements for administering psychological tests and securely managing student counselling files.

Changes since previous version

2021 Aug 27 - Student Counselling Files and Psychological Tests policies consolidated - updated policy statement to reflect change.

Does this update affect policy implementation?

No changes to policy intent and implementation for either policy. Consolidation brings both policies together to make it easier to access the information.

Document history - Student Counselling Files policy

2020 Jul 15 - update to contact details, text and style.

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.

Superseded documents - Student Counselling Files policy

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

Document history - Psychological Tests policy

4 Sep 2019 - made typographical changes and updated contact details to policy statement

The four policies have been consolidated into one policy.

Superseded documents - Psychological Tests policy

Administration of Individual Psychological Tests G/3578
Unauthorised use of Psychological Tests 1984
Unauthorised use of Psychological Tests A 1984
Unauthorised use of Psychological Tests B 1987

  1. Policy statement
    1. The NSW school counselling service contributes to student wellbeing in NSW public schools by providing psychological assessment, counselling and intervention services.
    2. Student counselling records are confidential department records of significant psychological interventions with individual students.
    3. School counselling staff must maintain and securely store all student records in a registered student counselling file, including case notes, reports and psychological tests.
    4. A registered student counselling file can be either hard copy or electronic using the department's online student counselling record management system.
    5. The department may only release information held on student counselling files in accordance with the department's Privacy Code of Practice and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
    6. 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. Information must be sufficient to inform action while maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive detail.
    7. Student counselling files are psychological records and are protected by the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.
    8. Access to student counselling files and psychological records is restricted to employees in the school counselling service and psychologists the department engages to undertake school counselling service duties.
    9. Employees in the school counselling service and psychologists the department engages to undertake school counselling service duties are the only personnel authorised to administer psychological tests in schools.
    10. School counsellors in training and school psychologists with provisional registration may use psychological tests independently only after they have received training in applying, administering and interpreting results.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All NSW public schools
  3. Context
    1. This policy replaces both the Psychological Tests Policy and the Student Counselling Files Policy.
    2. Staff must apply this policy in accordance with the provisions of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002, the department's Privacy Code of Practice, and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.
    3. For more comprehensive information about staff legal requirements in relation to using, disclosing and collecting personal information, refer to:
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals:
      1. ensure secure storage is available for student counselling files, psychological tests and related materials
      2. ensure access to student counselling files is restricted to employees in the school counselling service, and psychologists the department engages to undertake school counselling service duties
      3. make appropriate space available in their school for school counselling staff to carry out psychological assessment, counselling and intervention services.
    2. NSW school counselling service staff and psychologists the department engages to undertake school counselling service duties:
      1. ensure that all student records they keep, including case notes, reports, psychological tests and all related materials such as referral details and written parent permission, are maintained on a registered student counselling file and are stored securely
      2. ensure the confidentiality of student records is maintained unless there is a legal or departmental requirement to disclose information to the principal, or where one or more individuals may experience serious harm if someone with the power to act is not informed. Information must be sufficient to inform action while maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive detail
      3. ensure that psychological tests are administered strictly in accordance with manual instructions and psychological test materials are stored securely.
    3. Senior psychologists education/district guidance officers:
      1. advise school counselling staff on issues related to student counselling records and about which psychological tests and related materials staff should use
      2. facilitate access for school counselling staff to training and support for school counselling staff as new tests are released or updated.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Student Health and Mental Wellbeing monitors the implementation of this policy and reviews its contents for relevance and accuracy every three years or as needed.
  6. Contact
    Leader, Psychology and Wellbeing Services
    02 7814 2356
    schoolcounselling@det.nsw.edu.au
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