Psychologists in schools

Psychologists can be found in government, Catholic and independent schools in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote locations. Preschools, primary schools, secondary schools and special schools all benefit from school psychologists' expertise. Some psychologists work in only one school and are employed by the school principal, whilst others work for a geographically determined district or network, servicing many schools depending on need. Nationally, there are various occupational labels given to psychologists working in schools, but the APS recommends the internationally recognised term of school psychologist.

School psychologists apply their psychological and educational expertise to support students to achieve academic success, psychological health, and social and emotional wellbeing. To achieve these outcomes, the activities that school psychologists engage in are diverse and include counselling, assessment, consultation, psycho-education, prevention and intervention programs, referral, research and evaluation, and the management of critical incidents. Therefore, school psychologists are highly valued for the contribution they make to schools in relation to the mental health and well-being of students and the support that they provide to school staff.

School psychologists endeavour to work in a consultative, resourceful and supportive manner with parents/guardians, teachers, school administrators and external health service providers. School psychologists always work with the primary purpose of providing a high quality and ethical school psychology service and achieving the best outcomes for students.

Psychologists in Schools Reference Group

The Psychologists in Schools Reference Group was established in 2005 following calls for expression of interests at the end of 2004. At the end of every year calls for expressions of interest takes place through an email notification to every member and a notice in APS Matters. Applicants are chosen from around Australia according to professional experience and ability to represent the interests and issues of psychologists in schools. In most cases, members of a reference group stay on for a two year term.

For further information, please view Psychologists in Schools Terms of Reference or visit the Psychologists in schools online resources.

Psychologists in Schools Reference Group Terms of Reference

This Reference Group will:

  • ascertain the current issues and needs of psychologists working in schools
  • determine ways in which the Society can support psychologists working in schools
  • develop strategies and resources to assist psychologists working in schools.

The Psychologists in Schools Reference Group meets at APS National Office once a year and then participates in a number of teleconferences throughout the year. Taskforces are usually established to develop resources or to address certain issues affecting school psychologists. The psychologists in schools advisor also consults with the Reference Group throughout the year on matters relating to school psychologist members.

Current issues identified by Reference Group

There are a number of issues affecting the role of school psychologists. Some of these issues are currently being addressed by the Psychologists in Schools Reference Group and advisor. These include issues around:

  • professional identity
  • career progression
  • access to professional development and supervision
  • clinical guidelines
  • recruitment
  • retention.

Psychologists in schools advisor

The psychologists in schools advisor acts as a link between members working in school settings and the APS. Through consultation with the Psychologists in Schools Reference Group, the advisor develops resources that benefit and support the work of school psychologists and liaises with government and employer bodies to effect positive change for the profession. At times, the psychologists in schools advisor may take on an advocacy role, to support members or to promote psychology within educational settings.

How to make contact

For enquiries please contact the psychologists in schools advisor, Darren Stops, on 03 8662 3300 or email d.stops@psychology.org.au

Also see: Psychologists in schools online resources