School Counselling Service
Information for Parents/Guardians and Students
School counselling is the opportunity to talk about things that are of concern to a student, in confidence, with a qualified counsellor. What is spoken about will depend on the individual, but common themes are stress, relationships, change, loss and distressing or traumatic events. Counsellors are trained for this special type of work and are professionally managed and supervised. They work closely with school staff and other agencies. Counsellors work within a recognised code of ethics and practice such as that of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). All counsellors receive supervision of their work with young people to ensure the quality of their practice and this is also confidential.
Why have a Counsellor in school?
A school based service brings counselling to students in a place that is familiar, safe and secure. If students are able to receive emotional support from a qualified professional, they will have greater opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Is it confidential?
A key feature of our service at Hautlieu School is that information discussed in the counselling session is treated confidentially. This includes not discussing the work with parents, unless the child or young person requests or gives consent for this. If a student is 14-15 years old, the school would like to contact parents/carers to let them know students are seeing a counsellor, but will not go into details about it. If students do not want their parents to know about their attendance at counselling, it is still possible to come to counselling without parents being told under certain conditions, and students can discuss this with the counsellor before talking about anything confidential. If students are 16 years or over, they do not need parent’s consent as they can give their own consent if they are mentally competent to do so.
This can be hard for parents to accept at times, but ensuring the confidentiality of our work is crucial for establishing trust so that young people feel confident to speak openly and freely about what is concerning them. However, if a student appears to be at risk of significant harm it may be appropriate to seek help from other agencies to keep them safe. The counsellor would aim to discuss this first with the student concerned.
What if I don’t want my child to receive counselling?
If a student requests counselling and is able to understand what is involved in the process, then they have the right to access counselling. Parents and carers may not deny them this right. We would, however, prefer that we have your support for our work, and we are always happy to talk with you about any concerns that you may have about the idea of counselling.
What if s/he refuses to have Counselling?
The decision about whether or not to take up the offer of counselling is entirely voluntary for students, just as it would be for an adult.
How does it work?
Seeing a counsellor might be the student’s idea, or a parent or teacher might suggest it. Students can meet the counsellor first to ask questions and find out more. Counselling is voluntary – it’s the student’s choice.
Will anything be written down?
The counsellor will make some notes about what has been talked about in each session, and these are kept safely in a locked filing cabinet. All information written and discussed is private and confidential unless there is an agreed or overriding need to share this information in the student’s best interests.
How do I find out more or ask to see the counsellor?
Ask a teacher or head of year or at the school office. You can also pop in to see Judy (our school counsellor) in her room, next door to Psychology 1, or find her contact details pinned to her office door.