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Citizens UK and NASUWT announce strategic partnership around schools-based counselling

STATUTORY school-based counselling should be urgently rolled out across England, Tory ministers were told today. 

Teaching union NASUWT announced a strategic partnership with community organising charity Citizens UK to push for the change across primary and secondary schools and further education colleges.

Both organisations, which enjoy support from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, stressed that they share an “overarching mission to take non-partisan action for the common good.”

The move can help ensure children and young adults obtain the support they need, they said, after research showed that one in six young people aged between five and 19 in 2020 had been identified as having a probable mental disorder.

Separate data also revealed that a quarter of GP referrals to child and adolescent mental health services across Britain were rejected in 2018-19 on the grounds that the symptoms were “not severe enough,” meaning that many youngsters went without help.

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “We believe there are huge benefits for young people, school staff and the wider health service in having access to school-based counsellors.

“The need for trained support is there and is growing. Investment in school-based counsellors and early intervention could help to prevent many young people reaching crisis point.”

Citizens UK executive director Matthew Bolton praised the partnership for demonstrating how “unions and community organising practices can work collaboratively to make a change.

“The schools-based counselling campaign provides a basis for future joint work, demonstrating how important schools are as places of democratic action,” he added. 

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