Our Children, Young People and Families lead Jo Holmes has had a positive meeting with the Children’s Commissioner for England’s team to discuss school counselling.

She spoke to the commissioner Anne Longfield and her Head of Public Affairs Martin Lennon about their call for every school in England to have access to a CAMHS-funded counsellor.

This was one of six pledges that featured in a children’s manifesto launched by the commissioner earlier this month. The manifesto called on political parties to commit to a series of points to transform life chances for all kids.

The commissioner has said she believes the Government’s commitment to providing mental health support teams ‘in or near schools’ in a quarter to a fifth of the country by 2023-2413, is a good one – but that this needs to delivered faster and more widely.

The commissioner, whose office is within the Department for Education in Westminster, wants school-based counselling to be 50% funded from the £20 billion the NHS has received for the next five years.

Clearly visible

Commissioned counselling services could be provided by third sector organisations but will be clearly visible in all schools.

They won’t be based with the CAMHS service but could be out-sourced by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Jo stressed to the commissioner’s team that school counsellors should be qualified and working in paid roles.

Jo said: “This was a fantastic meeting discussing school counselling with a team who are passionate about improving mental health support for young people.

Profound impact

“We all share the view that having access to a school-based counsellor can have a profound impact on young people’s lives. We’re looking at practical ways a counsellor in every school can be funded and achieved in a way that benefits young people in need in the best possible way.

“The commissioner’s office want to emphasise to Downing Street that our members are a qualified workforce and that there isn’t a shortfall in professionals who can provide this service. It’s great to know that we have another powerful ally to spread this message.

 “The Children’s Commissioner is an influential voice on children’s rights and their wellbeing and I look forward to working with her and her team more in the future.”

Read the full manifesto