Schools are provided with:
- A Counselling Services Manager (CSM) who finds and supervises the therapists working in your school, helps assess the need for therapy, runs the drop-in services and collects/monitors data to asses outcomes of the service. He/she will provide any additional training in school (listening skills, attachment, friendship groups).
- Our therapists are either child psychotherapists or art therapists who are in their final year of training. They will work either one or two days per week in your school seeing four or five children depending on your school timetable.
The CSM works with the placement teams at Roehampton University, Terapia, The Institute of Arts and Therapy in Education (IATE), Goldsmith and Hertford University to interview and recruit the volunteer therapists. The project has built up an excellent reputation with these organisations and this has led to an increased number of volunteer therapists applying to work for the project.
- One to one support for pupils. Delivered by the volunteer therapists, supported by the CSM. The pupils are identified by school staff and then each case is discussed with the CSM. The CSM and/or volunteer therapist then carry out a classroom observation followed by a meeting between the CSM and the child’s parent or carer in order to explain the service and gain consent to work with the child.
Reasons for referral included: Attention seeking, lack of confidence, withdrawn, shy, self-harming, low self-esteem, destructive behaviour, inappropriate boundaries, violence, sexualised behaviour, anxiety, disruptive, struggling in class, not engaged in learning, difficulties with friendships or socially, school refusal, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Circumstances, where known, include: Domestic violence; bereavement; Looked after child; separation; abandonment; alcoholism; possible sexual abuse; family illness; parental mental health issues.
- Parents’ drop-In. This is held first thing in the morning for parents to see the Counselling Services Manager to discuss/seek support for any issues that may be impacting on them or their family. This could be a concern about their child in school or relate to family circumstances such as a bereavement, divorce, job loss, domestic violence, etc. We can then offer therapeutic support, strategies to manage behaviour or signposting to other agencies who may be able to help.
- Lunch-time drop-in for all children in school. This is their opportunity to be heard. Schools are often busy places with many constraints on a teacher’s time so they are often not able to provide sufficient one-to-one time to listen. Children generally refer themselves although the CSM has also received requests from parents and staff to speak to specific pupils.
The CSM talks in assemblies at each school to explain the service and how to access it. As it has progressed children take part in the assemblies to explain what it entails and how children can access it. The service is known as THE SPACE and children can complete a slip and put it in a post box to join a waiting list.
- Staff drop-in offering an opportunity for your staff to be heard. Whether it is just an overwhelming day, they have concerns about a pupil or wish to discuss something in their personal lives. This time can be used as they wish. We’ll either offer direct support or find someone who can help.
- A steering group meets each term which includes a member of staff from each school and the Counselling Services Manager (CSM), chaired by the Extended Services Team (in Ealing) and the Director of the Schools Counselling Partnership in Harrow and Tower Hamlets. It oversees the budget, monitors activity, plans the one-to-one service and lunchtime drop in and ensures good practice is shared across the schools taking part.
We work with schools to find funding that helps reduce the cost to them. To date, we have received funding from the John Lyons Trust for 15 of the 17 schools we currently work with.