Authors: Rebecca Wilkinson, Jessica Fulcher, Rochelle Cox
Evaluator company/business: Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
Summary: The expansion of the school counselling service is one of the four initiatives included in the department's Supported Students, Successful Students (SSSS) initiative. This process evaluation comprised 63 interviews with school-based staff and members of the school counselling service and; analysis of data on recruitment and separations, scholarships and sponsorships, and the number of new case files. There were 236 additional school counselling positions established through Supported Students, Successful Students, increasing the school counselling service from 790 to 1,026 positions. Recuitment took considerably longer than anticipated. Implementation has been a significant undertaking and challenging for school counselling service staff and schools. Schools that experienced with external services, and sometimes an increase in early intervention initiatives. Department data shows the annual number of new case files opened since 2015 (pre SSSS) has increased by 35% from 28,001 in 2015 (pre SSSS) to 37,796 in 2018. The new position of school psychologist is valued for the complimentary skills and experience they bring to the service. SSSS funding led to 40 permanent appointments into the school counselling service through graduate scholarships. From 2016 to 2019 the sponsorship program supported 194 teachers to retrain as school counsellors, with 94 of these funded by SSSS.