Minister Must Deliver on Expert Panel Recommendation

Please send a letter to the The Canberra Times, (email calling for more psychologists in our schools as recommended by the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours.


  • The Expert Panel has recommended that “ETD increase the number of psychologists/school counsellors (or other professionals with complementary expertise) within schools to meet the ratio of 1:500 students recommended by the Australian Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools Association.” (p.134)
  • The ratio in ACT public schools, being generous to the employer, is 1:750
  • The Minister for Education has stated that she accepts all the recommendations of the Expert Panel. However, there is no indication resources will be provided to employ the 35 additional school psychologists needed to bring the ratio down to 1:500.
  • Find out more in this post - Landmark Report Will Make A Difference if Government Backs Recommendations with Resources - and on p.131 – 134 of the Expert Panel’s report.


Please take a moment today to email the letters section of the Canberra Times at

  • Declare in the sign-off that you are an AEU member. You can ask to have your name withheld, though the safeguards mentioned under ‘Don’t’ are enough to ensure that you are not at risk.
  • As an educator, explain how the issue affects your students’ welfare and capacity to learn. Draw on the power of your personal experience (but never refer to specific schools, workplaces or students).
  • Letters are more likely to be published if they refer to another letter or article in the paper. You may wish to respond to the following:

    School counsellors - a third fewer than needed’, Emma Macdonald, 19/11/2015:
     “The ACT has at least a third fewer school counsellors than it needs to deal with rising numbers of students in crisis or acute need. National guidelines recommend one counsellor for every 500 students… the ACT government has held back from committing fully to the target despite saying it had agreed to all the recommendations in the independent review into students with complex needs and challenging behaviour handed down on Wednesday.”

    Eleanor Sautelle quoted in ‘Life on the front line of student psychology', Emma Macdonald, 19/11/2015
    "Kids have trouble engaging in learning for lots of different reasons – they might have a specific learning difficulty or disability, they might be experiencing mental health difficulties, or they might have experiences in their past such as grief, loss, trauma and adversity that make engagement difficult. Our job is to help understand what is going on, and support the student to get the help they need," she said.


  • Do not attack your employer.
  • Do not name your school(s).
  • Do not disclose any specific information you have obtained in your workplace.
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