The College Counsellor is available to support students, parents and staff in both Junior and Senior School communities.
Students may make an appointment to discuss issues of concern to them. Students consult school counsellors about many different issues, but their relationships, at both school and home, are the most common reasons for seeking help. Students may self-refer, be referred by a parent or teacher and sometimes they are taken to the Counsellor by a concerned friend.
Confidentiality is very important to young people when they seek help so parents are not contacted as a matter of course unless there are concerns about a student’s safety. It is explained to students, if they ask, that what they discuss will be kept in confidence unless it involves serious harm to them or another person. Parents are the most important people in a student’s life and every effort is made to keep parents in the ‘loop’ but this has to be balanced against the need to provide a safe place where students can talk about their issues in private. Many students welcome the suggestion to have their parents involved in the process but others prefer to keep their contact private and it is important for this wish to be respected or there is a risk that the student community would be reluctant to use the counselling service.
Parental permission is always sought before psychological testing which may occur if there are concerns about a student’s learning.
The Counsellor makes regular visits to the Junior School where she is available for staff consultation and the counselling or assessment of students. In the Junior School direct contact with a student will always be with the parent’s prior knowledge. A decision to refer a child would normally come from a parent or teacher concern, or perhaps from a parent-teacher discussion. Contact with students and parents can be arranged to coincide with the Counsellor’s visits to the Junior School or may take place in her Senior School office if this is preferred.
Parents in the Junior or Senior School are very welcome to phone and/or make an appointment to discuss their concerns about their child. They may also wish to discuss more general issues such as parenting or child development. Parents often make contact if there has been a crisis within the family such as a death or separation so they can ensure that school personnel will deal with their child with extra sensitivity.
Transition (Year 7 or 8)
The transition into Middle School can be a difficult time for some students and their parents. The Director of Middle School, Counsellor and other staff plan for the needs of each cohort of students on the basis of information provided by parents and some initial numeracy and literacy testing that is completed during Term One. Prospective parents are encouraged to contact the Counsellor if they have queries or concerns about how the College will address their child’s learning needs.
Peer Support Program
Peer Support is a program that aims to support the transition of the Year 7 students to the Senior School.
During Term One specially trained Year 10 students meet weekly to lead a small group of Year 7 students through a series of activities. The program is designed with the following aims in mind:
• to promote friendship and confidence within the Year 7 group
• to provide older mentors who can offer support or information to the new students
• to provide Year 10 students with an opportunity to develop their leadership skills
• for participants and leaders to have lots of fun
The Peer Support leaders become obvious people for the younger students to turn to in times of need. Although the program only runs for Term 1, the length of time of the relationship may last longer depending on the rapport between the student leader and the Year 7, the needs of the Year 7 student and the availability of the older student. The Year 10s are not expected to be substitutes for same-aged friends, but rather to play a big brother or sister role. The Year 7 students who participate in the program often comment that this contact helps them to become less fearful of the ‘big kids’.
A Year 7 teacher and the Counsellor provide the leaders’ training and coordinate the program.
Other Contact with Students
The Counsellor attends a range of Year level camps and other activities with students on both campuses. This involvement in the College provides students with opportunities to get to know her on a more informal basis in the hope that they may feel more comfortable about using the service in a time of need.
Senior School Students may make appointments by a direct request, by email or by leaving a message at administration. Parents are welcome to phone, email or make an appointment to visit.
Contact Susan Boyett: 9298 9100