Growing up in our modern and fast paced society comes with a number of pressures for our young people. It is important that the pupils who need support, guidance and care, beyond the figures of staff, friends and parents/carer have access to such. At Ballyclare Secondary School our staff work closely with pupils to ensure they have access to aspects of social, emotional and behavioural learning.
Counselling is a therapeutic service that allows pupils to talk to a professional counsellor in confidence about any issues or concerns they may have.
Presently, our school has a link with a counsellor from Family Works NI. This counsellor comes into our school one day per week.
Statement from Family Works NI:
“We work with children, young people and adults who may be in need of support. We also offer a range of support to students, employees, families, organisations or businesses needing to support or train staff. A desire to support and empower people to live their lives to the full is at the very core of all we do.”
Referrals for counselling at our school are made through our Pastoral Care System. The request may come directly from you as the parent/carer. You may make contact with your son / daughter’s Class Teacher or Year Head. This will be reported to Mr Nicholl (Head of Pastoral Care and Designated Teacher for Child Protection) who is responsible for the coordination of our school’s counselling service. Pupils are also able to make a self-referral by speaking to a member of staff of one of the three members of the school’s Safeguarding Team:
- Mrs S Flanagan (Girls’ Tutor & Deputy Designated Teacher for Child Protection)
- Mr A Nicholl (Head of Pastoral Care and Designated Teacher for Child Protection)
- Mrs K Bell (Principal)
Often, pupils confide in those they can trust and whoever that is in our school setting they will act with confidentiality in mind. If pupils make a self-referral, then the content of their counselling will be kept confidential from all, except the counsellor and the pupil. This can be hard as a parent/carer to accept but it is very important in the process of building trust and openness, two things that are crucial for this service to be most effective. If a pupil is at risk of harm then the school may have to consult with external agencies to keep them from harm.
Counselling can be of a great benefit to pupils. It can be useful for long periods of time as much as it can be useful for short periods of time. It is important to recognise that if a pupil seeks counselling and understands what it entails then they have a right to access it. It is entirely voluntary and they can stop seeing the counsellor at any given time. Often our counsellor will try to see pupils during different classes to avoid them missing the same classes.
If you have any questions about the counselling service offered at Ballyclare Secondary School please contact one of the above named in the School’s Safeguarding Team.