BACP has joined in “positive and productive” discussions helping to promote counselling as part of a whole-school approach to children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Our Children, Young Person and Families Lead Jo Holmes attended a scoping workshop about updating the NICE guidelines for social and emotional wellbeing in primary and secondary education.

The guidelines currently date from 2008 for primary education and 2009 for secondary education but are now being updated and brought together in one document.

They are aimed at advising school leaders, teachers, support staff, practitioners, local authorities and commissioners on how to help support school pupils’ wellbeing.

Jo joined representatives from government departments, health organisations, charities and children’s campaign groups at the workshop.

She raised several points about school-based counselling, including stressing the importance of funding to pay for professional counsellors within schools and ensuring better consistency in school-based counselling across the UK.

Discussions also included supporting young people in the move from primary to secondary school; updating the language of the guidelines to more accurately reflect the everyday mental health and wellbeing issues that young people face in 2019; and looking at how bullying and relationships are managed within schools.

Jo said: “These were really productive discussions and it was incredibly positive to hear that counselling was integral in these conversations and to share my experience of working as a counsellor within a school. 

“It’s vital there is a whole-school approach to children’s social and emotional well-being. This is about engaging with children beyond the classroom and the whole culture and ethos of the school. Counselling can play an important role in this work, helping to make a difference so that children and young people can become more engaged and begin to flourish within the world around them’’

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with NICE on these guidelines over the coming months and ensuring they reflect how counselling should be a key part of the social and emotional wellbeing support on offer to young people within their schools.”

Read more about our work with children, young people and families.