Student Support Officer FAQs

What is a Student Support Officer (SSO)?

A Student Support Officer (SSO) is a non-teaching school based staff member who has youth and/or social work qualifications. They are not teachers although some may have teaching qualifications and backgrounds

SSOs work under the supervision and direction of the principal or delegate.

SSOs are employed under the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 with a classification of Youth Outreach Worker.

What does a Student Support Officer (SSO) do?

SSOs work within the school community to enhance student wellbeing and learning outcomes in partnership with the school’s wellbeing team and the school counselling service.

SSOs provide individual and targeted wellbeing support and school-wide, wellbeing initiatives and programs that are evidence-based. They have a pivotal role in working collaboratively with external agencies and creating referral pathways for students and families to child and family support agencies.

The SSO role description forms part of the job advertisement and can be found on the department’s intranet page.

What qualifications are required to be an SSO?

Essential requirements:

  • diploma or higher qualification in social work, youth work, welfare or related discipline
  • knowledge of and commitment to the department's Aboriginal education policies
  • valid and current Working With Children Check (WWCC).

The qualification must be relevant to the role description and the focus capabilities. A Certificate 3 or Diploma in Educational Support does not match the role statement as SSOs are required to access and/or deliver evidence-based wellbeing programs.

Salary range from $63,666 to $93,349 pa. Starting salary will depend on qualification level, years of relevant experience, or current salary.

What are the differences between SSOs, SLSOs and CLOs

SSOs are Student Support Officers

SLSOs are Student Learning Support Officers

CLOS are Community Liaison Officers

Each role has different purposes, responsibilities, qualifications and salaries.

What is the difference between school counselling staff and an SSO?

School counselling staff (school counsellors/school psychologists) provide a psychological assessment, counselling and mental health service for students.

SSOs support the implementation of the school’s whole-of-school approach to wellbeing. They assist students to develop social and emotional skills through targeted strengths-based programs and strategies that build resilience, coping skills and positive relationships. When there are serious concerns, the SSO will be able to escalate them to the school counselling service, through the school referral processes.

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

How many new SSO positions will there be?

464 ongoing, full-time SSO positions will be established over three phases as follows:

  • July 2020 – 183
  • July 2021 – 207
  • July 2022 - 74

Phase one recruitment: how will new SSO positions be filled?

To deliver a coordinated state-wide campaign to attract the highest quality applicants to work in our school and to reduce the school administrative burden, first phase schools will be filled through a through a merit selection recruitment process.

Principals or their executive delegate can participate in the selection process for their school. To register, please contact wellbeing@det.nsw.edu.au.

These positions focus on supporting the wellbeing of young people. Ideal applicants have a specialised skill set, complemented by a Diploma or degree in Social work or Youth Work.

The positions have been advertised broadly in social media platforms, newspapers and through department webpages. Applicants can nominate up to five schools that they want to work in. Successful applicants will then participate in an online interview.

A talent pool may be created through this recruitment process to fill future SSO positions. Recruitment pools are valid for 18 months.

Can principals allocated an SSO in July 2021 and July 2022 be involved in the merit selection process for their school?

Further details regarding the recruitment process for these schools will be confirmed in Term 1, 2021.

Can schools get information to promote the position?

  • the link to the advertisement
  • a promotional video about an experienced SSO
  • tips and information regarding promoting these positons through their own school community and social media channels

How were schools allocated to each phase?

Schools were given a ranking based on a methodology which incorporated weightings based on:

The highest weighting in the methodology was given to schools that currently receive Flexible Funding for Wellbeing. This funding will not be continuing and is being combined with the election commitment funding over the three year phasing period to fund the Student Support Officer initiative.

Combining the funding allowed for additional Student Support Officer positions in Schools for Specific Purposes (secondary ED/BD) and some central schools.

Can schools in the second and third phase employ an SSO before being allocated a position?

Schools can use school funds to engage a temporary or ongoing SSO before being allocated a full-time position.

Schools can contact the HR or the Learning and Wellbeing team via wellbeing@det.nsw.edu.au to establish whether there are any suitable staff in the recruitment talent pool, or for more information about engaging SSOs on temporary contracts.

Working during school vacation periods

During student vacation periods, the location from which an SSO will work should be discussed with and approved by the principal prior to the student vacation period.

For more information read the department’s Health and Safety advice on working alone.

Your local Work Health and Safety Consultant is available to speak about working alone with your SSO and their supervisor. Contact your local consultant via the department’s Safe Working and Learning Unit.

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