School Counselling Service
We offer short term counselling for pupils - time and space for a pupil to think about and discuss issues that may be worrying them, or that they are finding difficult. Counselling can help with concerns such as conflict in relationships, lack of confidence, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, academic concerns, inner conflict, health issues, bereavement, loss and personal development issues. It can help us develop insight, make effective decisions, and cope with crisis. Counselling can help us clarify problems and challenges, identify changes we would like to make, gain new perspectives, consider the consequences of options open to us, and acknowledge the impact of life events on our emotional well-being.
What is Counselling?
- An opportunity to talk with someone trained to listen in a confidential space
- A supportive process in a non-judgemental, safe environment
- A way of helping people to live more creatively with situations that cannot easily be changed, which is often the case for children of this age group
- A counsellor does not give advice, but helps you understand your situation more clearly, encouraging you to find the most appropriate course of action for you
- Talking to a counsellor who is warm and able to empathise, can help us understand our situation, review options and decide on action. Knowing we have a plan helps us feel in control. Being able to know we have considered situations carefully from all angles improves self-confidence, and optimism about the future.
Sessions take place weekly in the mentoring/counselling room, during the school day. Appointments are mutually arranged by the school counsellor and teachers and last for 50 minutes . Pupils are initially seen for a period of 6 weeks and then their needs reviewed, and further counselling offered if the pupil and counsellor feel it is required. If our counsellor feels a pupil would benefit from outside support she may engage with agencies and other services to access that support.
Our counsellor does not usually deal directly with parents to ensure the boundaries of confidentiality are maintained, however our head of pastoral support Mr. New is available to discuss why counselling may be beneficial for your child and can be contacted on extension 204 on the school no, 01525 750400.
How are referrals made?
Pupils may request pastoral support themselves by talking to their form tutor or head of year, and will be assessed by the counsellor as to their suitability. Any member of school staff, or parents, may ask for a child to be considered for counselling and access referral, and should in the first instance contact the child’s form tutor.
Counselling within school is confidential, the only exception being that if the counsellor felt that the child, or another person, was at risk of severe harm, this would be reported to an appropriate professional. She would first discuss this with the pupil concerned, if possible. We will ensure both the parent and child are aware of the limits of confidentiality within the counselling relationship. Your child will not be offered counselling without your knowledge and permission, due to the age of our pupils at Woodland.
Aims of school counselling
To provide a confidential counselling service for pupils with social, emotional or behavioural concerns to enable them to fulfil their potential.
Some children find that the ability to discuss difficulties openly with someone they trust, who is impartial and non-judgemental, is sufficient reason on its own to enter counselling. Often children find lack of autonomy and inability to truly be themselves without judgement, very difficult to cope with.
Young people often appreciate support from friends and family members. However, sometimes our usual sources of support can be too close, inappropriate or sometimes be part of the problem. Counsellors have spent many years training to ensure they are independent, neutral and professional and can be particularly effective in helping in difficult or sensitive situations. They are trained to avoid imposing their own view and answers to a client’s situation.
How counselling works
It is imperative that a child wishes to engage in the process, as we benefit mostly if we enter counselling of our own free will. Our counsellor works with children that are willing to come for support, they then feel they have control over the process and trust that their feelings have been considered. Being coerced into coming to counselling, no matter how well intentioned the motive, is counter productive.
Studies show that our relationship with our counsellor is the key to a successful outcome within therapy. How well we connect with our therapist is essential - children need to feel safe, secure, and that they are working with someone they can trust. The relationship that develops between our counsellor and your child will hopefully be beneficial and unique. The counsellor will help the pupil explain what is important to them, will ask questions, clarify, reflect comments and encourage further exploration so that child and counsellor develop an accurate picture of the situation. By looking at a situation from a fresh perspective, we often discover new possibilities.
Counselling v Mentoring
How do we decide which form of support is the most appropriate for a child at Woodland? Our pastoral support team have strict criteria in place to assess whether a child would benefit from one type of intervention rather than the other. There are however similarities between the two, that of building a supportive relationship between the practitioner and the child which is unique and hopefully valued by both, and the aim to support a pupil to feel more fulfilled and happy in life.
Mentoring is usually offered for issues that staff or parents have identified, such as inability to focus or concentrate, relating to peers and/or staff, low self-esteem, homework problems for example and is a more directive, guided form of support. An action plan is formulated and the child helped to achieve goals specific to improving performance in school. Counselling differs in that it gives the child the opportunity to bring their own agenda, not governed by adults, encouraging them to explore what is important to them. This can have a positive impact on behaviour and emotional well-being and may be sought for issues such as relationship conflict, low self-worth, bereavement, loss, lack of confidence, anxiety, anger, personal development and so much more.
Learning Mentoring at Woodland
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is the provision of support and guidance to pupils and those engaged with them, by removing barriers to learning. Mentors promote effective participation, enhance individual learning, raise aspirations and encourage pupils to achieve their full potential.
What to expect
Mentored pupils will have a 30 minute session weekly with the learning mentor, at a time mutually agreed by teachers and mentor. When a referral is made the purpose of mentoring will be outlined and the child and mentor will devise an action plan to work towards achieving set goals. Including the child in this process ensures they are able to have some control over what they are committing to work on, and increases the chances of them engaging in the process.
How referrals are made
Mentoring is available to all pupils, and any member of school staff, or parents, may ask for a child to be considered for mentoring accessing referral, and should in the first instance contact the child’s form tutor.
The child undergoing mentoring will be made aware the mentor will ‘keep trust’ with them – this contract is fundamental to the shared understanding the mentor has with the child. The mentor ensures the child is able to give informed consent about information being shared about them, and every child is made aware that no practitioner can offer complete confidentiality. Due to the necessary input and co-operation of staff regarding the goals and outcomes of mentoring, the mentor will often liase with staff to ensure the child’s needs are met.