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Education / Council to receive nearly £1m for school counselling service

The new Anderson High School seen from Staney Hill with the Clickimin Leisure Centre in the background. Photo: Shetland NewsThe new Anderson High School. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Islands Council (SIC) is set to receive nearly £1 million from the Scottish Government over the next four years to provide access to counselling services for secondary school pupils.

Over £60 million will be given out by the government across Scotland to “build or expand high quality counselling services for children and young people”.

In 2019/20 the SIC will receive £197,000, with £255,000 set to be provided in the following three years.

The funding is being distributed based on a fixed sum of £45,000 allocated to each local authority (the equivalent of a team leader for each council), seven per cent on “schools located in remote rural areas”, with the remainder distributed on secondary pupil numbers.

School counsellors help to support young people’s emotional, behavioural and mental health, and there is a pledge to provide pupils with support during school holidays.

Counselling services currently delivered by qualified and registered counsellors through pupil equity or Scottish attainment funding will continue, which should enable local councils to reallocate funds to other priorities.

Scottish Government has also provided a guidance document for local authorities for when they develop plans for access to counsellors.

Scotland’s 32 local authorities should have the access in place by September 2020.

Mental health minister Clare Haughey said: “Children and young people can face many issues growing up and must have the right support available at the right time.

“Providing every secondary school with access to at least one counsellor by next year is a significant step forward in our package of measures to improve the mental health support available for children and young people.”