The School Counselling Service provides confidential one-to-one counselling for pupils. The Service aims to help pupils resolve or manage personal difficulties and develop good emotional health and well-being so they feel happy at school, are engaged with their learning and can work towards their potential.
Counselling offers pupils the opportunity to talk in confidence about a difficulty they may be having or distress they may be experiencing - and work with the counsellor to find their own way forward from these issues. Counselling is primarily a 'talking therapy' but can encompass other activities to support pupils' expression and communication.
How can counselling help?
Counselling supports pupils to develop a language for feelings, express and understand emotions and difficulties, and find new or better ways to deal with problems. This can help pupils to feel better about themselves and others, take responsibility for their choices, and become more skilled at coping. Our leaflets below give you an idea of the type of problems that pupils bring to counselling. Don't be put off by this. These are just examples.
What have pupils said about counselling?
My favourite part of the day. I get to talk about my problems with someone who really listens
I use to feel really depressed and worried. I don't anymore. Counselling has really helped me
Somewhere I can talk about my life, stuff I'm interested in. It's better not to bottle things up
Lara is patient and gives good messages like owning up to mistakes. It's fun too. We laugh a lot
I get to clear my head when I'm stressed and too hyperactive
Lara is a great counsellor. She has helped me overcome my anxiety and OCD. I would recommend her to others
Counselling is confidential - what does this mean?
The counsellor does not discuss the content of counselling sessions with anyone else (including staff, parents and carers), unless the pupil asks or agrees for this to happen or there is reason to believe the pupil (or another) is at risk from harm. The counsellor aims to strike an appropriate balance between the protection of pupils' rights to confidentiality in counselling and the sharing of information to safeguard theirs and others' well-being.
For more information about confidentiality and its importance in counselling, click on the links below to read our School Counselling policy and counselling leaflet for parents and carers.
Who is our counsellor?
Lara is a qualified counsellor who has worked with young offenders and adult offenders in prison, families experiencing bereavement, and children of primary school age. Prior to qualifying as a counsellor, she was a social worker, initially practicing in residential care with young care-leavers before moving to statutory child protection work then a Barnardo's service for families affected by abuse and loss and separation. She has also worked for the NSPCC at their national adult helpline and young people's online listening service.
Lara is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and works to their Ethical Framework for Good Practice. She is also registered as a social worker with Social Work England, the new social work regulator replacing the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). She attends regular supervision with an external counselling supervisor who oversees her work.
What is the BACP and why is it important?
The BACP is one of the largest professional bodies for counselling. Being on the BACP register demonstrates that a counsellor has met certain requirements set by the body and has agreed to abide by a code of ethics and complaints procedure. This gives you confidence that Lara will adhere to high standards of professionalism and practice in her work. Read more here
How can pupils access counselling?
Pupils can self-refer for counselling. Staff, parents, carers, and external professionals can also make referrals, provided the pupil has agreed to the referral and is happy to meet with Lara to find out more about counselling and explore if it's right for them.
It's important to remember that counselling isn't for every pupil and there are other options for support which may be more appropriate.
How do I make a referral?
If you would like to make a referral, you can contact Lara on the main school telephone number to discuss your situation or to make an appointment to see her. She works Mondays to Thursdays until 2.30pm. Alternatively, you can speak to any member of staff who will discuss your request with Lara as well as the SENCO team who are responsible for assessing suitability for Additional Support interventions.
As many of you will be aware, after nine years, I am leaving my post as counsellor to pursue new adventures. There's nothing like a national crisis to make you re-evaluate your life and fast track plans for the future.
Thanks to one and all but especially pupils (past and recent) who have instilled their trust in me and taught me a great deal. It's been illuminating!
Keep your eyes peeled for news of my replacement but with knowledge that current circumstances are such that, for the foreseeable time, school interventions will be operating very differently (July 2020).
Take care, Lara
If you're interested to find out more about counselling, check out the links below. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please don't hesitate to get in touch.