School counsellor vacancies drop amid recruitment drive to support student wellbeing


The NSW Government is moving ahead with its election commitment to recruit an additional 250 (FTE) school counsellors, with 86 new school counsellors and psychologists starting work in NSW public schools at the beginning of this school year amid a 35% drop in vacancies since last year.

The improvement comes after the NSW Government abolished the wages cap and delivered a once-in-a-generation pay rise to school counsellors and psychologists last year, which saw starting salaries lift from $75,791 to $95,317.

At the beginning of Term 1, 2023, under the former Liberal National Government there were 92.8 FTE vacancies. Positively, as of Term 1, 2024 that number has dropped to 60 FTE vacancies.

A recruitment push will also commence in the coming weeks, further boosting the number of counsellors and psychologists in NSW schools to support the mental health and wellbeing of students and improve educational outcomes.

These highly skilled practitioners play a crucial role supporting children and young people to thrive and succeed in education, providing a free psychological counselling, assessment and intervention service in public schools.

School counsellors hold dual qualifications in teaching and postgraduate qualifications in psychology. School psychologists hold postgraduate qualifications in psychology.

Every NSW public school student has access to the School Counselling Service, which includes counsellors and psychologists registered as general psychologists with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, at no cost to families.

The School Counselling Service has 1,253 FTE positions in the 2,000-strong student wellbeing workforce in NSW public schools, which also includes wellbeing nurses, student support officers, student wellbeing officers and school chaplains.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“NSW schools are now one of the largest employers of psychologists in NSW, providing invaluable, free support to students in their local public school.

“Our schools care deeply about the wellbeing of all our students and support students so they can reach their full educational potential.

“The Minns Labor Government has given school counsellors and school psychologists significant pay rises this year to address the shortage, and in recognition of their unique skills and the valued contribution they provide to the mental health and wellbeing of NSW public school students.”

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