A growing number of school students are seeking help from
counsellors - and a new report has found many guidance
services are struggling under pressure or simply not up to
The Education Review Office has raised serious concerns about
the quality of secondary school guidance services, and says
improvement is needed at about one in three schools.
Funding has also been flagged by ERO, with some schools
unable to account for how they spent money provided for
The report, Improving Guidance and Counselling for Students
in Secondary Schools, is part of the Prime Minister's Youth
Mental Health Project which aims to improve the mental health
of young people aged 12 to 19 years.
Its findings are based on visits by ERO to 49 secondary
schools and wharekura this year. A survey of 671 students at
the schools was also completed.
Stephanie Greaney, evaluation services manager for ERO, said
a key finding was an increasing workload at many of the
schools made it difficult for otherwise competent staff to
Just over one-third of schools surveyed needed to improve the
guidance and counselling offered.
"Research shows that student wellbeing is critical for
student achievement ... we found that the varying importance
which schools and wharekura placed on the role of guidance
and counselling contributed to the variable quality of
service we saw provided," Mrs Greaney said.
"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."
ERO has recommended the Ministry of Education provides clear
guidance and support, including professional learning and
development for school leaders and guidance and counselling
It has also recommended that the ministry reviews how
services are funded.
- By Nicholas Jones of the New Zealand Herald