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Establishing closer relationships between schools and health providers: Continuity and confidentiality is key

Case study 30 May 2022

Teenagers playing volleyball

This story was captured from a Tūturu case study in an evaluation by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research - read the full report.

One school that signed on to Tūturu formed a close relationship with their health provider. 

This evolved into the provider being present at the school once week. Now, the school has a pathway available to refer students to experts in AoD counselling. Having in-house support means that all school staff, particularly those with pastoral responsibilities, deans, and teachers, have clear, understandable referral processes they could follow.

Benefits of schools having closer relationships with local health providers

One school lead explains: “We were pretty excited about Tūturu because it does get hard trying to do this on your own as a school. We’re privileged to have a nurse on-site and a reliable guidance team. It’s made life a bit easier for the deans because we’ve got more support here at school."

"We still teach 4 or 5 classes, so our workloads are really big. We certainly don’t get the time to do what we’d like to, that’s for sure.”

Having a provider working in the school meant that it was easier for staff to refer students for AoD-related issues. Students benefited from expert advice and were able to easily attend sessions because barriers such as setting up appointments outside of school time, financing, and transport were no longer issues.

Having an outside provider also gave students a sense of security that any information they shared with the provider would remain confidential. Across schools, confidentiality is a big concern for students. Counselling for students took different forms. As well as individual sessions, there are also options for group sessions.

School leads were surprised at the effectiveness of group counselling and could see that some students responded better to working with their peers. The school also appreciated the way students could continue counselling at health providers’ offices during the holiday period.

The Tūturu lead said: “It’s helpful to have them [health providers] on-site. It’s also important that the offsite provider continues during the holidays...They have a separate facility, which is really good because kids can go there and hang out, and it’s right in the middle of town. They don’t have to see the drug counsellor here."

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