Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers about student mental health and wellbeing support in schools.

How many school counselling positions are there in NSW schools?

There are currently 1,081 FTE counselling service positions state-wide working in schools across NSW. The expansion of services will create up to a further 100 counselling positions.

How many new student support officer roles will there be?

We are creating an additional 350 student support officer roles.

Does every NSW high school get their own dedicated school counsellor/school psychologist?

Every high school will have a 1.0 FTE counselling allocation by July 2023. The counselling service to each high school will be typically provided by more than one member of the local school counselling service.

Will these positions be expanded in large Central Schools as well?

Students in Years 7-12 at Central Schools with large secondary enrolments will be supported.

Will all counselling positions be permanent school-based staff?

All new positions will be permanent and based in schools. The new staff will be part of the expanded school counselling service.

How will these counselling positions be filled?

These positions will be filled through established recruitment processes, including the centralised recruitment campaign, school counsellors in training, and psychology graduates from the scholarship programs offered by the department. Over the next four years, more than 250 new staff will progressively enter the school counselling workforce through the expanded rural and metropolitan scholarship program.

How are we working with mental health organisations to support wellbeing initiatives in schools?

We will be partnering with key agencies, universities and leading mental health organisations to build staff capability and increase the number of evidence-informed prevention and early intervention programs delivered to students. Find out more by visiting our page on our mental health partners.

What will the student support officer do?

Student support officers support schools implement wellbeing and anti-bullying strategies that build student resilience, coping skills and positive relationships.

What is the difference between school counselling staff and student support officers?

School counselling staff provide a psychological assessment, counselling and mental health service for students.

Student support officers support the implementation of the school’s whole-of-school approach to wellbeing. They support students develop social and emotional skills through targeted strengths-based programs and strategies that build resilience, coping skills and positive relationships. They also have a pivotal role in working collaboratively with external child and family support agencies and other government agencies to support students.

Together, school counselling staff and student support officers work as part of the school learning and support team to provide students with holistic support in their learning and wellbeing development.

Can I use my Wellbeing Flexible Funding to employ a Student Support Officer?

The Flexible Funding for Wellbeing Services was allocated in 2016-2018. It has been used by schools for a variety of wellbeing programs and to employ Student Support Officers.

Schools can use their current Wellbeing Flexible Funding immediately to employ a student support officer.

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