NSW Nationals Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said public schools will have a strong pipeline of trained and qualified school counsellors and school psychologists to draw on over the next few years.
“Through the government’s sponsorship and scholarship programs, we will be training up to 328 people to join the school counselling workforce between 2020 and 2023,” Ms Mitchell said.
“Given the tough year that has been 2020, with bushfires, drought, floods and of course COVID-19, it is more important than ever to enable highly skilled people to enter this important profession through various pathways, a mix of external recruitment and the sponsorship and scholarship pipeline.”
Ms Mitchell said that the pipeline of 328 professionals will be hired as part of the NSW Nationals in the state government’s election commitment to provide quality mental health support in schools.
“These new positions will bring the total number of graduate scholarships for psychology and teacher retraining to 566 since 2016 through the Supported Students Successful Students initiative,” she said.
“We’ve established a great relationship with several universities including Wollongong, Charles Sturt and Sydney to provide the training needed for our interested teachers and psychology graduates.
“We are also on track to deliver the 100 additional school counsellor position as part of its $88.4 million student wellbeing election commitment.
“We have committed to employing both a full time psychologist or counsellor, and a student support officer, in every government high school.
“Of these 100 new positions, 25 counselling staff are on the job four months ahead of schedule.
“These trained specialists will support students who seek help from within the school gates.”
Schools have funding and flexibility to hire additional support staff if their community requires it. There are currently more than 1000 school counselling positions in NSW public schools, with someone available for students to talk to in every high school.