We've launched new guidance to support school leaders to deliver the best quality counselling services for children and young people.

We know that access to free and timely counselling in schools plays a critical role in responding to and preventing mental health issues. Research shows that school-based counselling has a positive impact on young people’s levels of psychological distress and self-esteem.

School counselling

In our 2023 Public Perceptions Survey most parents (85%) said that counselling services should be freely available in schools. The survey also revealed that almost one-in-five children had asked their parents for access to a counsellor.  

But schools are confused about what school counselling is, what is best practice and what to expect from a counselling service.

Our new guidance, School-based counselling – the essential guide for school leaders, mental health leads and commissioners, will help address these worries by giving a clear outline of the key components expected of school-based counselling, whatever the funding stream available or type of service delivery offered.


Joanna Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead said: "With the right investment in place school counselling is an easily accessible, non-stigmatising and effective form of early intervention for reducing psychological distress in children and young people. Waiting times are also considerably lower than referring to services offered outside of school.

"Our new guidance will help simplify and demystify the process by providing a complete overview of how to deliver the highest quality counselling services to children and young people in a range of school settings."