To assume students from the age of 11 onwards only ever require support with academia is naïve.

For me it defies a duty of care to each student and fails to offer the required mental health support in meeting the subject of ‘differentiation’ as required by Ofsted.

Students are humans who have life experiences which affect their mental state both in and out of school. As Fritz Perls wrote, 'life is fluid'.

Teachers are only trained to teach their subject matter. They cannot offer a ‘dual role’ of teacher and therapist/listener. This brings confusion to a student. You would not go to a dentist to talk about a physical illness. Students deserve the right to be offered an appropriately trained adult in their hour of need. They have a voice.

There is a marked difference in a professional counsellor having trained for many years in the ability to ‘hear’ a student, who can create the safe environment for students to disclose their inner most feelings, while offering unconditional positive regard, to that of a trained teacher.

Neither teachers nor mental health mentors are trained in any way similar to that of a professional counsellor. A counsellor is not carrying their own baggage around with them which could interfere with how they listen and hear students.  They disposed of that while in training.

School counsellors add significant representation in an educational setting. They allow teachers to feel supported with a professional to emotionally educate and assist teachers when so required. They enhance the attainment of staff and students and achievement of individual students.

A ‘whole school approach’ means we understand that academic and emotional intelligence should always run along side by side in what is required in any educational setting: to best meet the needs of each individual student whose life is precious and unique and therefore should be treated that way.

Please support BACP’s call for a counsellor in every school. Schools need emergency, ring fenced funding to pay for this much needed professional service, and they need it now.

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