Educational Institutions: Counselling

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Labour, Hemsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans the Government has to introduce a mandatory provision of counselling services in secondary schools and colleges across England.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

It is important for schools and colleges to have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs and to draw on an evidence base of effective practice. This support can come from a number of sources, including counselling.

The department has published guidance on how to put in place effective school-based counselling, which schools can use to identify where further counselling support is appropriate for their pupils. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

Our most recent survey of mental health provision in schools and colleges in 2016 and 2017 found that 61% of schools and colleges (56% of primary schools, 84% of secondary schools and 93% of colleges) reported offering access to a counselling service for their pupils.

The government is investing £8 million in the new Wellbeing for Education Return Programme, which is funding expert advisers who will be able to train and support schools and colleges in every area of England and can make links to available local authority provision, including counselling.

To increase support further in the long term, we remain committed to our joint green paper delivery programme with the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, including introducing new mental health support teams linked to schools and colleges, providing training for senior mental health leads in schools and colleges, and testing approaches to faster access to NHS specialist support.

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