A bill that calls for the Government to ensure every school has access to a mental health professional or school counsellor has been presented to Parliament.

Lib Dem peer Baroness Tyler of Enfield introduced the Private Member’s Bill to the House of Lords today.

The bill could be debated by Peers of the House of Lords in the next few months depending on parliamentary time and timetabling.

Sustainable funding

We’ve contacted Baroness Tyler to offer our support to her bill and to highlight the benefits of school counselling, the skills of our members who work in schools, and the need for sustainable funding of school counselling.

We’ve long campaigned for a counsellor in every secondary school, academy and further education college. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all have government-funded school counselling. England does not.

Jo Holmes, our Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “It’s fantastic to see that school counselling is again on the Parliamentary agenda.

We know what a difference counselling in schools and colleges can make to young people’s lives – the earlier the help and the easier it is to access, the better the outcomes for that young person.

“But schools are expected to fund counselling provision themselves out of rapidly dwindling budgets or access free provision from short term funded local services which simply isn’t sustainable.

Commitments from political parties

“With a General Election on the horizon, every occasion like this is a chance to build support and momentum for investment in school counselling, to gather commitments from political parties and to ensure this translates into action and funding.”

We’ll be writing to all parties in the run up to the General Election explaining how a Government funded counselling model could work.

And we’ll continue to brief and contact politicians to emphasise to them that there’s a trained workforce of children and young people counsellors who are available to work to urgently address growing need, if more funding is put into this area.

The presentation of the bill follows a debate in the House of Lords last week about children and young people’s mental health.

We briefed peers ahead of the debate and were pleased to see many of the speakers highlighting the need for access to counsellors and psychotherapists in education and community settings.