The Education Review Office has recommended the Ministry of
Education review its formula for guidance counselling funding
in schools after it found some schools were not able to
account for how they were spending the money.
A report, titled ''Improving Guidance and Counselling for
Students in Secondary Schools'', has revealed ERO is
concerned about the lack of accountability for the use of
funding provided for guidance staffing.
''Although some were adding considerable additional resources
to provide guidance and counselling for students, others were
not able to account for how they spent the funding they
received,'' the report said.
The findings in the report are based on visits by ERO to 49
secondary schools and wharekura this year, and a survey of
671 pupils at these schools.
ERO evaluation services manager Stephanie Greaney said less
than two-thirds of the schools were providing guidance and
counselling well, while more than a third needed to improve
''In this evaluation, we found that the varying importance
... placed on the role of guidance and counselling,
contributed to the variable quality of service we saw
''In many of the schools and wharekura, the guidance and
counselling was of a good or very good standard, with leaders
placing high value on it and its importance for student
wellbeing and learning.''
However, Mrs Greaney said other schools did not make it a
''Many schools undertook little or no self-review of their
guidance and counselling provision, so school leaders didn't
know if it was meeting the needs of students.''
Although guidance and counselling staff in many of the
schools had the professional ability to help pupils, Mrs
Greaney said their increasing workload made it difficult for
them to fully respond to the complex nature of some of the
ERO has also recommended the ministry provide clear guidance
and support to schools, including the provision of
professional learning and development for school leaders and
people working in the roles.
Overall, pupils were positive about guidance and counselling
in their school and more than two-thirds said it was socially
acceptable at their school to see someone about guidance and
Bayfield High School guidance counsellor Ewen Cameron said
the report seemed to be a fair reflection of the situation,
but he believed Dunedin schools were served well by guidance
''Here at Bayfield High School, we place emphasis and
resources on giving the best care possible to each individual
student, and this pastoral approach seems to make it
acceptable for students to seek help.
''There has been a definite increase in workload for school
counsellors, with more socio-economic problems evident and
the rise of social media creating problems.
Otago Girls' High School counsellor Ada Crowe and Taieri
College counsellor Diana Leonard said the report ''pulls no
punches'' about the scale of the problems schools are dealing
with, and welcomed ERO's recommendations.