Embargo: 09:00hrs Thursday 1 October 2009
Jane Hutt, Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills has opened a milestone event celebrating school-based counselling in Wales today, Thursday 1 October 2009, at The Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells, Powys.
‘A celebration of school-based counselling in Wales: from policy to practice' has been jointly organised by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Welsh Assembly Government.
The conference is part of BACP's ongoing work with the Welsh Assembly Government in support of the implementation of their National Strategy for School Based Counselling which was published in April 2008.
Speaking at the event, Jane Hutt said: "When we launched our strategy back in 2008 the Assembly Government allocated £6.5 million over three years to establish and expand school-based counselling services across Wales.
"That funding will help us achieve our aim of ensuring that every secondary school in Wales will have access to a counsellor by 2011. The number of hours will increase year on year, until a universal service has been established and all children and young people who need this support will have access to a qualified, trained counsellor, giving them confidence that their needs will be heard and addressed."
Speaking in support of the event, Laurie Clarke, BACP's Chief Executive, said: "It has been a great opportunity for BACP to work so closely with the Assembly on this initiative, and it is fantastic that it is has culminated in this unique event. Through this partnership working we are ensuring not only that all young people in Welsh schools will have accessible counselling, but that the services themselves operate to the highest standards."
The conference will also feature additional keynote speeches by Keith Towler, Children's Commissioner for Wales and Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling at the University of Strathclyde.
Date: Thursday 1 October 2009