Counselling In Schools

Counselling in Schools launched for 24,000 learners: good mental health and wellbeing is essential for student success.

A girl and a woman smiling and greeting us with Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu.

We have known for some time a lack of mental wellbeing among some of our tamariki is getting in the way of their attendance, engagement, and success.

That’s why counselling support is being put in place for around 24, 290 of our most vulnerable learners.

The Counsellors in Schools programme will deliver counselling support to 141 primary, intermediate, area and small secondary schools  throughout Aotearoa. The initiative invests $44 million, over four years, as part of a $200 million package to improve wellbeing for learners in the wake of COVID-19.

The programme was formally launched today by Jan Tinetti, Associate Minister of Education, at Te  Kura o Hau Karetu in Upper Hutt. In Te Tai Tokerau and Otago/Southland, the programme is already underway. Other schools will begin counselling support for student, between now and early 2022, as they are ready.  

The new Counselling in Schools initiative is in addition to the $15 million, just announced, to support Auckland students to stay engaged in their learning in 2021 and 2022. This includes $1.5 million in counselling support for Auckland learners.

The Government is also expanding Mana Ake into the Northland, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty, Lakes, and West Coast District Health Board (DHB) regions to provide support to learners in these regions. Manu Ake currently provides wellbeing and positive mental health support for around 9,000 Year 1 to 8 learners in Canterbury and Kaikoura.

It will be up to schools, working with their whānau, communities, wellbeing staff, and the counselling provider, to decide what counselling supports their students need, and how they will be delivered. Depending upon their need, participating schools can access up to 1,000 hours of support per year. Around 100,000 hours of counselling per year is available in total to students across these schools.

Schools invited to take part were those whose students were indicated as having the greatest need, using the Ministry of Education’s Equity Index. This invitation was made after setting aside schools in areas where Mana Ake is being co-designed for expansion, or where a school had access to some other relevant support.    

Counselling in schools will  run in the participating schools for three years. During this time, an evaluation will be completed to determine if the initiative is sustainable and scalable. 

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