What we do
Our professionally-qualified and our BACP-accredited counsellors offer individual counselling sessions to pupils. We liaise with teachers and other staff in setting up the service and maintain links with them whilst maintaining the young person’s confidentiality.
The service provides:
- Brief solution-focussed counselling of 6-8 sessions
- Confidentiality within Fraser Competence Guidelines for secondary pupils
- Appropriate record keeping
- Assessment and evaluation of the young person’s problem and the work done
- Referral, if necessary, to appropriate services with the young person’s agreement
- Advocacy with staff, parents or other relevant people when appropriate and with the young person’s consent
Working with children and young people in schools
The Valley Trust has now been in existence for over thirty years and its purpose and focus have been evolving over time.
We work tirelessly to ensure we accommodate the changing nature of the needs arising, advances in counselling methods and, of necessity, current market forces, which dictate the balance between schools’ needs and what they find affordable.
The Valley Trust Core Framework
This sets out our core service. It clearly outlines what is offered by our counsellors in schools and what is received by children and young people involved.
The Initial Assessment Period
- Receipt of referral information
- Meeting with parents/carers of primary-aged children
- Assessment session with child/young person
- Confidentiality agreement
The Counselling Sessions
- Setting the focus of the work
- Agreeing the way of working
- Allowing the child/young person to tell their story
- Empowering the child/young person
- Exploring strategies to develop solutions
- Helping the child/young person to think and behave differently
- Continuous re-evaluation throughout the process
Final Assessment and Evaluation
- Review of the counselling process
- Clarification of strategies and solutions for the child/young person
- Optional follow-up meeting with parents/carers
- Possible referral on to third-party agencies
- Completion of evaluation
- Case Closure
Working with Schools
Research has shown that counselling:
- Provides the opportunity to share problems and concerns in a non-judgemental setting.
- Provides the opportunity for confidentiality and safety which may allow the young person to talk about long-suppressed experiences which may have been causing distress.
Counselling in schools provides a cost-effective service for pupils who are experiencing emotional distress and/or behavioural problems.
Resolution of these issues, of course, not only helps the individual concerned but can also act as a catalyst in reducing general classroom disruption and improving staff morale.
The first stage in the process is for us to meet with the school head and other relevant staff to introduce:
- The Valley Trust counselling service – an overview
- The counsellor’s role
- How to involve the school’s pastoral staff
- Record-keeping arrangements
- Review and evaluation processes
Who can benefit
Primary school children
Children who display low self esteem and appear isolated and lacking in social skills benefit from counselling. It helps them express their thoughts and feelings effectively.
Secondary school children
Young people with emotional difficulties find that counselling provides them with an opportunity to explore strategies to manage themselves and their relationships more effectively. We can also provide counsellor consultations to school staff regarding pupil issues or tailored personal support.
Issues presented by children and young people include:
- Difficulties with family or peer relationships
- Anxiety or stress-related issues
- School refusal difficulties
- Low self esteem
- Bereavement or loss issues
- Self harm
- Misuse of drugs or alcohol
- Sexual, physical or emotional abuse issues
Schools’ queries answered
How can I get our school involved?
If you think that Valley Trust may be a good addition to the support you offer children and young people in your school, then simply contact us and the Coordinator, Sarah Hurst, will arrange to visit you and talk through the setting up of a service, what it involves, how it works and what it costs.
We can also put you in touch with other school Heads with experience of having a similar service, to tell you how it has worked for them.
How is counselling of value to our children and young people?
When children and young people are facing strong feelings about events going on around them, at home or at school, it can impact on their behaviour or ability to concentrate at school and make them feel vulnerable.
Difficulty in relationships at home, with friends, schoolwork, bullying, bereavement or any other number of issues can all be explored in a safe and supportive environment with the counsellor.
The counsellor can also work together with parents and teachers to look for better ways of supporting the child or young person.
Parents and teachers often see a marked difference when children and young people have the chance to talk through their feelings with a skilled counsellor within the school setting.
Reviews and feedback
An Annual Review is undertaken with every school we serve. This meeting is attended by the school head, the link member of school staff, the counsellor(s) and a trustee.
We continually receive positive feedback from schools. Head teachers say that our counselling services are “hugely valued”, “working very well”, “a wonderful service”, and “a very positive addition to our school”.
Preliminary consultations are free of charge. We would be happy to discuss your requirements further either by telephone or a visit, with no obligation.
Minimum school contract
2.5 hours/week (10-20 pupils – up to 8 sessions each, throughout the school year.)
Cost: around £3,900
I felt happy after playing in the sand and my teacher said I was nice and calm. – Ben, aged 6
Having a counsellor in school working alongside us is working extremely well for all of us. – SENCO & Link Person