The Scottish Government’s £60 million commitment to fund counsellors in all secondary schools by the end of October remains on track, a parliamentary committee has heard.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee on Wednesday (17 September) following a wide range of questions relating to Covid-19.

He confirmed that all local authorities will have counsellors in place to fulfil the school counselling pledge by next month’s deadline.

His answer was in response to a question from Rona Mackay MSP.

It follows concerns raised in an evidence session in February by a number of counselling providers who feared recruitment challenges may impact negatively on delivering the policy.   

Our Four Nations Lead Steve Mulligan said  

“This important commitment follows more than 10 years of lobbying with our members to secure this investment.

“Over the past two years,  we have worked closely with Scottish Government to help advise on the implementation of the programme and we’re pleased to see it’s now coming to fruition in ensuring that qualified and professional counsellors are able to provide the therapeutic support that Scotland’s children and young people desperately need.

“This is particularly important in helping to address the mental health impact of the pandemic and lockdown measures which had such a negative impact on our children and young people” 

“Scotland has joined Wales and Northern Ireland in providing a nationally funded programme of counselling support and we are urgently calling on UK Government to do the same in England - there is no more crucial time than now to do this” 

As with all new programmes of this magnitude we expect there may be some challenges in some areas as these new services bed in.

We’re keen to hear from members in Scotland about any concerns you have with implementation so we can pass these directly onto officials. Please contact

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We believe that a paid counsellor should be available in every secondary school, academy and further education college in England.

This will be the main request in our response to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which sets a blueprint for spending over the next four years. 

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