Schools: Counselling

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th October 2020.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the counsellor to student ratio in (a) secondary and (b) primary schools in each local authority area in England.

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

Schools and colleges have the freedom to decide what support to offer pupils based on their particular needs, drawing on evidence available on 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.

The department does not ask schools to provide details of support and we do not make estimates of the level of support. Our 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 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. This includes 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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