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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] : 7th November 2011

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Development

 

School Based Counselling

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Scrutiny of the current position and progress relation to the development of a local school based counselling service.

Recommendations

1.             That the report and the excellent progress be noted.

2.             That Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] continues to monitor progress.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To approve the recommendations.

2.             To consider the progress that has been achieved.

Background

2.             Following the Clywch report in 2004 issued by the Children's Commissioner, Peter Clark, a key recommendation was the establishment of a Counselling Service for young people.

3.             Following a broad consultation, the Welsh Government launched its National Strategy for School-Based Counselling Services for Wales in April 2008 (copies have been placed in the Members' room).

4.             During 2008, the Vale of Glamorgan submitted a proposed model for delivery of a counselling service. Following confirmation of the grant, a full tendering exercise was undertaken, with Barnardo's Cymru being the preferred service deliverer.

5.             Funding was allocated for a 3 year period with an incremental allocation in 2008/09 (year 1) of £42k rising to £106k in 2010/11 (year 3). The increase each year would enable the service to grow slowly and ensure that all secondary and special schools receive a service. The service would also cater for pupils outside the school setting, such as those in pupil referral units and those receiving Out of School Tuition. An initial costing exercise recommended that £150k would be required to deliver an effective service for the Vale of Glamorgan. 

6.             The development of the service is overseen by a multi agency management group including members of the Education Service, head teachers and Health Authority professionals. 

7.             The additional funding and guidance ensures that all 8 mainstream secondary currently receive a service of either 1 or 2 days per week. Additional days are allocated for special schools, out of school provision and some pilot primary provision. 

Relevant Issues and Options

8.             In 2010 the Welsh Government Education Minister confirmed an additional funding increase and confirmation of a continuation of funding until 2013. An allocation of £186k in 2011-12 and an indicative allocation of £205k 2012-13 have been awarded to the Vale of Glamorgan Counselling project. The Welsh Government has indicated that after 2013 the funding to administer School Based Counselling will come via the Revenue Support Grant.

9.             A full procurement exercise has begun to award a new contract by June 2012.

10.        The service is monitored and evaluated by the Management Board and at a national level. Feedback from school staff and pupils in February 2011 remains very positive (Appendix 1).

11.        Welsh Government feedback on the Vale of Glamorgan's progress is very good. A recent review by the Welsh Government used a number of indicators to evaluate the cost and quality of the service during the spring term such as a 'value for money exercise', equating numbers of young people attending sessions to cost of delivery. On all these indicators the Vale performed well.

12.        299 young people have accessed the service in the last year with a total of 1,593 sessions being attended. The main reasons for referral have been highlighted as family issues, anger and bullying.  Key issues highlighted during counselling have included family issues, pupil self worth and anger.

13.        A full service review is under taken annually by Barnardos, the number of responses continues to increase although number remain low in some areas i.e. parent questionnaires. Feedback is positive, a 100% of pupils agreed that the referral process worked well.  100% of pupils said using the service had helped in improving relationships with friends and family, improving behaviour and concentration and being more able to cope with things at school. Of the 32% of pupils who highlighted that their attendance was an issue prior to counselling all suggested that counselling had made it easier to attend school. Areas highlighted for improvement included the length of waiting lists and the counselling room was not always adequate. These are areas that are being explored with schools and the service provider.

14.        YP Core is used as a tool to assess psychological wellbeing, outcome data continues to show significant positive progress for the young people undertaking counselling (Appendix 2). 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change if appropriate)

15.        The Council currently receives a full WG grant to deliver the service.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.        There are currently no legal obligations for the Council.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.        In delivering an effective Counselling Service, vulnerable young people are listened to, supported and helped to deal within their own issues, therefore reducing the risk of negative and anti social behaviour and reducing the risk of entering into criminal activity now and in the future.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.        WG guidance and continued projected growth of a universal counselling service will ensure all young people aged 11-16 have equal access to the service regardless of perceived need.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.        Increase and improve counselling and support services for children and young people in and out of school (Objective 6: CYP8) is a key corporate priority.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.        This is currently funded from a WG grant.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.        None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Barnardos Cymru - School Based Counselling Review

Barnardos Cymru - YP Core review

Contact Officer

Mark Davies, Children and Young People's Partnership Co-ordinator

Officers Consulted

Caroline Rees, Head of Service - Access and Inclusion

David Davies, Pupil Support Manager

Responsible Officer:

Bryan Jeffreys, Director of Learning and Development