School counselling

School counselling staff assist students of all ages by providing a psychological counselling, assessment and intervention service.

They work collaboratively with principals, teachers, learning and support teams, parents and carers, and other agencies to support learning and wellbeing outcomes for students.

School counselling staff provide counselling using evidence-based interventions with students individually and in groups. They also undertake cognitive, emotional and behavioural assessments to contribute to the development of appropriate school-based support for students.

Since 2016, an additional 291 school counselling positions have been established across NSW public schools, increasing the total to 1,081 positions. This new initiative will further expand the school counselling service by up to 100 positions.

Priority for the additional counselling positions for the first phase in 2020/2021 includes high schools with student enrolments above 800, residential schools, and locations receiving a scholarship graduate. These schools will be advised of their increased allocation by the end of Term 4, 2019.

A range of strategies to fill school counselling positions are in place including an ongoing centralised recruitment campaign, expanded sponsorships for teachers to retrain as a school counsellor and scholarships for psychology graduates.

Training pathways for the school counselling service

Scholarships are available for teachers to retrain as school counsellors and for psychology graduates to train as school psychologists.

The School Counsellor Sponsorship Program supports teachers to complete psychology studies and undertake a tailored graduate psychology course to work as school counsellors. The Master of Professional Psychology (School Psychology) program provides training for psychology graduates to work as school psychologists.

Visit our school counselling services and scholarships page for more about training pathways and scholarship opportunities.

Contingent Psychology Service

To expand the pool of available staff to cover leave, the department is establishing a contingent psychology service. This will assist schools to provide a counselling service through pre-qualified providers where casual or temporary school counselling staff are unavailable locally, such as those in rural and remote NSW. The contingent psychology service will be available in early 2020.

Fly-in/fly-out and telepsychology services

In parts of NSW, the department is supporting schools with counselling staff who “fly in” and provide intensive short-term service. In addition to this service, a number of schools in rural NSW are receiving a counselling service that is delivered via video link (telepsychology). Both of these services will be further developed and implemented more widely from July 2020.

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