A draft toolkit for counsellors working with young people in schools and community settings has been published.

The draft toolkit, which we’ve worked on with the Welsh Government, is now being consulted on.

It comes as it was revealed that 11,365 young people received counselling in Wales during 2017 to 18.

The toolkit is a set of good practice guidelines for working effectively with young people in schools, but also in community settings, from Year 6 upwards.

Its aim is to ensure counsellors have the support they need for their roles and to be a go-to manual for service providers.

We’ve been part of a school-based counselling working group helping to update the 2011 version of the document. This has also included our members, counselling practitioners and service managers in Wales.

Jo Holmes, BACP’s Children, Young People and Families Lead, said: “This has been a big piece of work and it’s fantastic to see it reach the consultation stage.

“It’s a great example of counsellors and services coming together and working with us and the Welsh Government to put together a document that we can all be really proud of.

Great support

“I believe the finished document will be a great support to counsellors and service providers. It will help give them the information they need to provide a high-quality service, deliver value for money and improve outcomes for children and young people.

“There is still more work to do before this is a finished publication.

“Following a presentation at our Making Connections event in Llandudno in September, several of our Welsh members came forward and are helping to put together some extra chapters which we hope will be included in the final document.”

The document features sections including: creating an effective counselling space; accessing counselling; counsellor qualifications and experience; and counselling as part of a whole-school and whole-system approach.

It also contains personal stories from young people talking about counselling - including the experience of 17-year-old Liam, whose story we have shared before on our own website and social media accounts.

Good quality counselling

Announcing the launch of the draft document, Welsh Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said: “It is now more important than ever that our learners have early and easy access to good quality counselling which is proven to help prevent emotional health issues developing or becoming more serious.”

She added that the document “will help enable counselling providers in schools and, increasingly in the wider community, to deliver services that are of high quality, safe, easily accessible and available at the point of need.”

Although this document is for counsellors and services in Wales, we believe the content of it is universal to all school counsellors and service providers.

We’d like to see similar publications rolled out across all four nations as an example of best practice.

The consultation on the Welsh toolkit will close on 18 December 2019.

The finished document will be shared with members of the Welsh Schools Counselling Network, within education and community settings, and on our website.

See the toolkit and find out more about the consultation.