School counselling allocation methodology

In March 2015, the NSW Government announced the $167.2 million Supported Students, Successful Students package of wellbeing support for NSW public schools. It included $80.7 million for 236 additional school counselling positions.

Extensive work was undertaken to develop a consistent, state-wide methodology for the allocation of school counselling services. A stakeholder advisory group comprising education, parent and union representatives guided the development of the methodology. The Stakeholder Advisory Group agreed that the allocation will be adjusted every three years to reflect demographic changes in schools.

In 2018, the New South Wales Government committed an additional $6.2 million of funding to establish 55 additional school counselling positions in response to the increased student enrolments across New South Wales public schools.

The 2019-2021 allocations for schools have been determined using the methodology finalised by the Stakeholder Advisory Group.

What principles underpin the methodology?

The methodology for the core school counselling services:

  • is informed by current research, feedback from focus groups held across the state and NSW school and student data
  • provides every school with a core school counselling allocation
  • provides a school counselling allocation that reflects student need
  • will be adjusted every three years

How is the school counselling allocation calculated?

The counselling allocation is based on student enrolment data and on indicators of student need.

What enrolment data has been used?

2018 enrolment data has been used to calculate the core school counselling allocation. A notional enrolment for each support class, including those in special schools has been applied. The enrolment data also includes every student enrolled in a departmental preschool.

What are the indicators of student need?

The indicators of student need are students impacted by disability and/or additional learning and support needs, disadvantage and location.

How is the indicator of need for students impacted by disability and additional learning and support needs calculated?

The Student Learning Needs Index (SLNI) has been applied as it is a broad measure of disability and additional learning and support needs. This approach is consistent with existing practice under the Every Student, Every School initiative and supports the Department to meet its obligations under the Disability Standards for Education, 2005. Students in Schools for Specific Purposes were allocated a notional SLNI.

How is the disadvantage factor of need calculated?

The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents, Report of the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing indicates there is a strong association between mental disorders and specific socio-demographic factors. Children and adolescents with parents and carers with lower levels of education and higher levels of unemployment had higher rates of mental disorders.

A specific index has been calculated by the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation and applied to reflect this research. This data is collected through the Enrolment Registration Number (ERN) system. This index correlates highly with other measures of disadvantage.

How is the location factor of need calculated?

The location factor measures remoteness using Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA+). ARIA+ is a measure of service accessibility and remoteness derived from road distances between populated localities and service centres. ARIA+ is widely used across Australia and has become recognised as a nationally consistent measure of geographic remoteness.

When will the 2019-2021 core school counselling allocation commence?

Schools were advised of their core school counselling allocation for 2019-2021 in early Term 4, 2018. The 2019-2021 allocations commenced in Term 1, 2019.

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