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School guidance counsellors’ support needs improving

School guidance counsellors’ support needs improving, says NZAC

Students are suffering because of poor resourcing for guidance counselling in secondary schools, says the NZ Association of Counsellors.

Many schools are struggling to support their guidance counsellors because of inadequate funding, says NZAC spokesperson, Sarah Maindonald.

“Guidance counsellors themselves are often struggling to meet student demand for support in a timely manner, which is risky when some students maybe be unsafe,” Ms Maindonald says.

As an interim measure to assist schools, NZAC has produced a how-to guide to help boards of trustees and principals support their counsellors as effectively as possible, given their limited resourcing.

The new guide was produced following the 2013 ERO review of guidance provision, which found that the student to counsellor ratio, counsellors’ professional development, and specific policies and procedures were insufficient in many schools.

“The guide will assist school principals and boards to provide the best possible support to counsellors within the school environment,” Ms Maindonald says.

“But this is a short-term initiative. In the longer-term we want the government to understand the value and importance of guidance counselling in schools and to resource that aspect of the education system to ensure safe practice.”

Some counsellors are in schools with a ratio of one counsellor to 1,000+ students.

Most counsellors are usually working with more than 40-50 students a week and while the problems students experience may not be created at school, they manifest themselves there, and they affect a student’s ability – and willingness – to learn.

“We see adequate resourcing of guidance counsellors as a vital investment in a successful education system.”

The how to guide was produced with assistance from the Ministry of Education. Click here to view the guide.


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