School counsellors are members of schools’ student welfare and learning support teams. With the agreement of parents or carers, school counsellors will pass on to teachers, information that will assist them to better meet the needs of their students.
Students may refer themselves to the school counsellor or may seek an interview at the suggestion of a teacher, a parent or carer, or a friend.
A student’s reasons for seeing a school counsellor may include worrying about school work, conflict with friends, being in trouble at school or just feeling “down”.
Parents or carers may seek advice from school counsellors about their child’s school progress, educational options, including access to special education services, behaviour and for information about help available from other agencies.
Except when students refer themselves to the school counsellor, parents or carers will be involved from the outset. Their consent is required before any psychological testing is undertaken.
Whether working with students, parents or carers, or teachers, school counsellors will explain how they work, listen carefully to what is said, help clarify options and encourage informed decision-making.
School counselling is a confidential service and school counsellors will check with students,parents or carers before passing on information (such as the results of tests of learning difficulties) to others. Confidentiality will be maintained unless legal requirements, e.g. child protection legislation, override it. Nor will confidentiality be maintained where someone may suffer serious harm from information being withheld.
School counsellors are not at every school every day. It is necessary for parents or carers to make an appointment by telephoning the school.
Students will be told of the arrangements applying in their school as to how they can see the school counsellor.
Priorities for the school counsellor’s time will be determined, in consultation with the school counsellor, by the principal.