We offer a counselling service for pupils as part of our arrangements for helping children with personal problems. This page is for their parents or carers and explains what counselling is about.
Counsellors are trained to listen to people, without judging them in any way, and help them sort out their thoughts and feelings about whatever is concerning them.
They are fully qualified and experienced children's counsellors with a wide experience of working with children.
Often, when we are stressed, worried, or just plain unhappy, we cannot work out why we feel so low. This is especially so for children. Our experience is that a little counselling help for an unhappy child early in their school career can have an immensely beneficial impact on their life chances.
The signs that a child may need counselling include bed wetting, withdrawal, mood swings, unexplained bruises and aggression
Counselling is often just for a few sessions, but the child and the counsellor together review their progress after a few sessions and may decide to go on meeting every week if they feel that it would be beneficial to do so.
Counselling takes place in a small, private room at school. For primary school children, the sessions are usually about 35 minutes long. Appointment times may be varied so that your child does not miss important class activities, breaks or lunch.
Counselling is voluntary, and children can refuse to accept our offer of counselling if they wish.
We welcome and appreciate your support. If your child is offered counselling, it will assist us a lot if you are able to:
We realise that parents often worry about what may be said about the family in a counselling session. Please remember that the school counsellor will not be judging you from what your child tells them. It is part of a counsellor's job to help children unravel their feelings and work out the truth for themselves.
Referrals are made through the schools contact person (usually Head of Pastoral care) to the school counsellor, but the original request may come from you, a teacher, or in some cases, the child. Please feel free to talk to your child's teacher or the school's counselling contact person. Alternatively you can ask for a confidential appointment with the school counsellor to discuss a referral and answer any questions you may have.
The counselling room is a place where children can speak freely about their feelings, knowing that what they say will not be repeated elsewhere except in very exceptional circumstances.
Counsellors do not make judgements about what the children tell them, whether they are speaking about themselves or other people. They are there to help children to sort out their feelings, not to tell them what to feel or think. Therefore the children must know that they can safely say what is bothering them without fear of everyone knowing. The counsellor's task is to help children have better feelings, not to make things worse for them!
As a result, everything children tell us is totally confidential unless they specifically authorise the counsellor to tell someone else or the counsellor has reason to believe that the child, or someone else, is seriously at risk, in which case the counsellor may need to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe.
After counselling, your child will be asked whether they found it helpful, and what suggestions they would make for improving the service. Depending on children's ages, teachers will either talk to them about their experiences and write down the answers for them or explain why we value their reactions and leave them to fill in their answers themselves. In either case, the children can add drawings to express their feelings if the wish.
These evaluations are anonymous: the children do not give their names, and the forms are returned to the school's counselling contact person who will analyse them and discuss any significant criticisms or suggestions with the school counsellor.
If there is any cause for complaint, you or your child are welcome to contact the school counsellor or Space Counselling Services, who will try to resolve any issues of concern.