Last Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Counselling Service - St Kenneth's RC Primary School

What is this?

​The use of a Counselling Service to address social and emotional barriers to learning and to build bridges and better relationships.

St Kenneth’s RC Primary have used part of their SAC funding to provide children and families with access to a counselling service in order to:

  • support children in dealing with emotional or social challenges leading to greater ‘readiness to learn’
  • provide a readily accessible way for parents to get support in dealing with a range of concerns/issues from home
  • develop staff knowledge and understanding of attachment difficulties and build capacity in nurture and supporting emotional development.

Who is this for?

​This exemplar will be useful to all practitioners in primary school education.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

A short description of how this exemplar could be used to support improvement.

Improvement questions

  1. How effectively do we involve partner agencies to ensure learners benefit from the right support at the right time?
  2. How do we know if personalised support is having the desired impact of improving outcomes for learners?
  3. How is this service developing staff capacity to support social and emotional wellbeing in learners? How do we know?
  4. How effectively do we use data and information to identify, track and monitor children with additional support needs? How do we know?

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What was done?

The counsellor currently works with 24 people (both pupils and parents) on a weekly basis. He uses approaches such as:

  • play therapy
  • counselling skills
  • mediation

Support is given covering a range of concerns within a designated room in the school building. Teaching staff make referrals to our ‘SAC Team’ which consists of a ASL teacher, home-link worker and counsellor. This team determines whether this form of support is appropriate to meet the identified needs of the child/parent; and then contact is made by telephone to establish whether this is something the individual would like to participate in. Parents can also self-refer if they wish.


Staff had recognised that a small number of individual pupils who had previously been supported by a counsellor had benefitted greatly from this experience and were developing awareness of how to manage their emotions when dealing with difficulties.

Staff were also aware that many pupils who experience chaotic or difficult home lives often find settling to learning tasks in school, challenging. They hoped that high quality, targeted support which provided an opportunity for pupils to talk about how they felt in a confidential way would help create a more inclusive learning environment.

What was the impact?

Engagement with this service has grown steadily as families become aware of the help on offer and engage in regular counselling sessions. Many parents now feel better placed to support their children’s learning. Children feel better supported in school. This is helping to develop confidence, resilience and self-awareness.

Children, families and staff provided positive feedback on the impact of their involvement in this initiative.

Impact is measured using ‘YP-Core’ and ‘Core-10’ questionnaires (Standardised Assessment) on a monthly basis. This allows ongoing, quantitative monitoring under the headings of Feelings/Anxieties, Anger and Sleep.