St Mary’s College provides counselling to assist students and their families as required. The Counsellors endeavour to develop appropriate skills and attitudes and resolve problems in academic, psychological, emotional, and/or social contexts. The Counsellors work toward change for the benefit of individual students, groups within the school, and the wider community.
What is school counselling?
School counsellors address issues impacting on the social and emotional wellbeing of students. The support offered focuses on improving and enhancing the educational outcomes for the student. This can be done through:
- Consultancy with teachers
- Strategies for parents
- Psychological Assessment
In the event that the above strategies are ineffective in meeting the educational needs of students, they maybe prioritised for short-term, therapeutic intervention with the Student Counsellor. Alternatively, the Counsellor may refer them to other professionals or outside agencies to meet more long-term support needs.
School counselling is considered a confidential service. In order to improve educational outcomes, suggestions and strategies can be discussed with school staff and parents/guardians but this is usually negotiated with the student. In matters of safety, communication with others including school principals, other St Mary’s College staff, the police, and/or the Department of Child Safety can be mandatory.
Who is the focus?
Students identified by the College Leadership Team (CLT) and Learning Support Teachers (LST) are the main focus of receiving school counselling services. Referrals to the Counsellor may include:
- Students with significant behavioural difficulties
- Students adopting social and emotional coping strategies that have a negative impact on learning
- Students who have been diagnosed with Social Emotional Disorders (e.g. Anxiety, Depression, Oppositional Defiance Disorder). It should be noted that not all students with diagnoses will require school counselling. This is especially the case if they are accessing psychological support through other community or government agencies. However, the Student Counsellor may have a monitoring role, including providing strategies and advice to assist with educational outcomes.
- Students with significant social and peer conflicts
- Students requiring psychometric/psychological assessment
All these issues must have a significant impact on the student’s learning. That is, if a student is having emotional problems (e.g. due to an issue such as family breakdown) but this issue is not impacting on how the child is coping with any aspect of the curriculum, then the Student Counsellor is likely to refer this student to external counselling services. Additionally, Counsellors cannot usually undertake long-term interventions.
Student Protection Officers
St Mary’s College reports any form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of a child to the relevant authorities. Our Child Protection Officers who undergo yearly training and deal with such matters are: Michael Newman (Principal); Charmaine Cridland (Deputy Principal); Liisa Hammond (Acting Deputy Principal); David Burrows (Assistant Principal Welfare); Tanya Dickenson and Loe Stanford (College Counsellors). Students are informed of our child protection contacts and encouraged to report any form of harm caused by an adult.