How MOE supports and empowers school counsellors

We refer to the letter by Mr Kuharajahsingam Karalasingam (School counsellors need more support, June 21).

School counsellors are vital members of the student support team. Every school has one or two trained counsellors, depending on the school's needs.

While teachers offer the first line of support for students, those who need further support are referred to the school counsellors.

Teachers, school leaders and parents work closely with the counsellors to support students on their social, emotional and mental health issues.

Counsellors may also refer students to medical professionals and the Response, Early Intervention and Assessment in Community Mental Health (Reach) teams, a mental health service that works closely with schools, if more help is required.

In working with minors, school counsellors may share critical information and the support plan with parents and school leaders on a confidential basis. This is to ensure that students are supported both at home and in school.

School counsellors are also well-supported to carry out their work effectively through continuous professional development opportunities, which include ongoing in-service training.

Lead school counsellors also sit in at monthly consultation sessions to provide guidance to the counsellors on their casework and advise them on any challenges they may face.

In addition, school counsellors also have access to peer support sessions, where they can share learning points with fellow counsellors.

The Ministry of Education will continue to work hand in hand with our school counsellors to provide a conducive environment where they are empowered to provide the best support for students.

While our school counsellors can assist students, support from home and community is just as crucial.

Each of these parties plays an important part in providing the necessary guidance and support for our children.

Choy Wai Yin

Director of Guidance Branch

Student Development Curriculum Division

Ministry of Education

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2019, with the headline 'How MOE supports and empowers school counsellors'. Print Edition | Subscribe