Expert Panel Recommendation Must Be Implemented
The AEU, the ACT Council of P&Cs, Australian Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, ACTCOSS, the ACT Youth Coalition, Children With Disability Australia, St Vinnies, Save Our Schools and Unions ACT have written an open letter to the ACT Chief Minister calling on him to implement the expert recommendation we were told he accepted.
TAKE ACTION: EMAIL THE CHIEF MINISTER:
Currently, the ratio of psychologists to students in ACT schools is in excess of 800. School psychologists are regularly spread between 2 - 4 schools. This impacts on the level of support received by young people with disabilities, learning difficulties and mental health issues. That's why the Expert Panel on Students With Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours recommended a ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students.
By emailing Chief Minister Barr, you'll let him know that the community wants the Government to do more than just 'accept' the recommendation - we want it implemented on the ground.
Adapt your own version of this template, in order to personalise your letter:
Dear Chief Minister,
The Expert Panel on Students With Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours told us we need more qualified psychologists in our schools. In November, your Government told the ACT community, in writing, that you accepted all of the Panel’s recommendations. However, as students return for a new school year, not even one additional school psychologist has been employed.
Every ACT school strives to meet the individual needs of every student - school psychologists are an integral component of this effort. They provide critical support to students with disabilities, learning difficulties and mental health issues. However, as the Expert Panel noted, school psychologists are often spread between 2-4 schools. There are simply not enough qualified school psychologists employed in schools to provide children and young people in the ACT the care they deserve.
In recommending a ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students, the Expert Panel found that: "If this higher psychologist/counsellor to student ratio were adopted across the ACT this would lead to a significant increase in the capacity of school psychologists and school counsellors to meet student need, including needs of students with complex needs and challenging behaviour."
I join the AEU, the ACT Council of P&Cs, Australian Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, ACTCOSS, Children With Disability Australia, the Youth Coalition of the ACT, UnionsACT, Save Our Schools Australia, and St Vincent De Paul's in calling on you to:
- Reiterate you commitment to implementing all of the Expert Panel's recommendations, including recommendation 10.1 in relation to increasing the ratio of school psychologists to students.
- Provide additional resourcing to fund 35 additional school psychologists to meet the ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students in ACT public schools.
- Inform the ACT community as soon as possible when the 1:500 ratio will be achieved.
- Put "firstname.lastname@example.org" in the 'To' field, and "email@example.com" in the "CC" field (Education Minister Shane Rattenbury).
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- ACT Government employees:
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- do not disclose specific information gained in the course of your employment.
- Canberra Times: ACT government faces calls for more psychologists in Canberra schools
- ABC: School psychologists: Education Union urges ACT Government to increase number of counsellors
- An Open Letter to the ACT Chief Minister
- Fact Sheet: Expert Panel Recommendation on Increasing the Number of School Psychologists in ACT Schools