‘Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu- Counselling in Schools’

Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu- Counselling in Schools

This Ministry of Education initiative ‘Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu- Counselling in Schools’ began in September 2021. Increasing the provision of evidence-based, developmentally appropriate and culturally sustaining counselling support to learners in primary, intermediate, and smaller secondary schools. Enabling flexibility to provide different approaches for primary and intermediate schools than the existing model of guidance counsellors in secondary schools. The model allows for learners to access counselling support, with the support of their whānau, through referral and/or self-referral at accessible venues for counselling.

Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu brings in local professional counsellors to support kaiako and kaiāwhina as they care for ākonga and make school a place of shelter and connection, as well as a place of learning.

Mirror Services alignment with the Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu assists ākonga (learners) experiencing:

  • awhi mai, awhi atu — opportunities to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences to understand how to navigate these
  • ihi — the power and strength to confront and deal with challenging situations
  • wairuatanga — spiritual wellbeing, through being connected to their immediate and wider networks
  • whakapuāwai — abundance and prosperity, through having their hauora supported.

Of the 215 schools funded throughout Aotearoa, Mirror provides this service in 6 schools in the Otago and Southland communities. Our kaimahi can be seen at Musselburgh in Dunedin, and working between East Gore, Bluff, St Teresa’s in Bluff and Aurora College in Southland. 

Some impressive outcomes are being reported in this mahi:

a) Learner's report feeling better in themselves (71 percent), at school (61 percent), and about things outside school (63 percent), such as activities and friendships.

b) Teachers report 53 percent of learners showed an improvement in participation in classroom activities and 52 percent an improvement in learning after receiving CiS support.

c) Whānau are similarly positive, with 89 percent reporting improvements in their child’s wellbeing, 78 percent an improvement in engagement at school, and 83 percent an improvement in their learning. The most common reasons for ākonga  being referred to counselling are behaviour, relationships and anxiety. 

If you are a student of one of the following schools: Musselburgh Primary, East Gore, Bluff, St Teresa’s in Bluff and Aurora College in Southland and want to access Awhi Mai, Awhai atu | Counselling in Schools please contact the Counsellor based at your school.

For further information about the ‘Awhi Mai, Awhi Atu- Counselling in Schools’ the link to the Ministry of Education page is below.