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Evaluation of the Welsh School-based counselling strategy : final report

Hill, Andy and Cooper, Mick and Pybis, Joanne and Cromarty, Karen and Pattison, Susan and Spong, Sheila (2011) Evaluation of the Welsh School-based counselling strategy : final report. [Report]

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      The Welsh Government's School-based Counselling Strategy (the Strategy), implemented from April 2008 in secondary schools across Wales and a pilot selection of primary schools, was evaluated. A range of research tools were used, including desk research, analysis of client outcomes, qualitative interviews and surveys of key stakeholders' views. Implementation of the Strategy and its counselling services was generally perceived as successful by all stakeholders, including counselling clients, with evidence that all key recommendations for its development were implemented. Across six terms, 11,043 episodes of counselling were attended. Participation in counselling was associated with large reductions in psychological distress; with levels of improvement that, on average, were somewhat greater than those found in previous evaluations of UK school-based counselling. Key recommendations are that permanent funding mechanisms should be established to embed counselling in the Welsh secondary school sector, with consideration given to its roll-out into primary schools. Service managers and schools should also look to ensuring equal opportunities of participation in school-based counselling from all sectors of the community, that adequate accommodation is available in schools for the delivery of counselling, and that a system of regular outcome monitoring is established.