What is Counselling?

Our sixth form counselling service is a professional “talking therapy” delivered by qualified Counsellors that are based at Thurstable sixth form centre. Our counselling service offers a safe containing space to students who are experiencing a range of mental health and emotional issues which may include or be related to; loss/changes in life/or transition’s at home/going to university/ transitions around gender identity or sexuality, anxiety, panic attacks, low mood, low self-esteem, friendship issues/bullying, young carers issues, anger/challenging behaviour, exam stress, and low level disordered eating to name just a handful of themes our counsellors can support students with.

Our counselling service offers a confidential space where our young people have an opportunity to explore and understand their difficulties within an agreed relationship of trust. As counsellors the student leads the way during sessions around what issues they wish to focus on during our work together. Student’s are empowered to learn new therapeutic tools to help build resilience and self awareness as well as learning how to connect with difficult emotions. Students are offered the opportunity to also use art materials/sand/clay to help express difficult emotions in new ways that may feel more appropriate for some young people and can be a gentler appropriate therapy where words feel difficult to express.

Counselling can help students to cope with “difficult life circumstances' they are currently facing (or have faced in the past) and can assist them in going on to flourish in their studies and their future paths in life (B.A.C.P, 2022). Counselling can enable clients to develop insights into their situation and help them to put effective strategies in place to build better personal resources and greater resilience. This can lead to a reduction in problems and risk, increased wellbeing, better functioning and improved work or study effectiveness in higher education (Broglia, 2015).

During our first session, our Counsellors are able to access if a more specialised service is more beneficial to support a student i.e. where risk of harm to self or others is disclosed, a referral to the EWMHS (Emotional Wellbeing Mental Health Services)/CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) or the local CRISIS team would be most appropriate. Different kinds of trauma and bereavement can also require long term therapy to enable students to explore their distress at their own pace over a longer period of time. Eating disorders can also be part of underlying complex emotional issues and a referral into CAMHS or EWMHS for a more specific therapy intervention alongside support from our school nurse is the most beneficial form of treatment.

Please find to follow the link to the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy Code of Ethical Framework that our Counselling Team work within:

Meet The Team

Louise Brock- School Counsellor (MB.A.C.P Accredited, Dip (HE) in Person Centred Counselling, BA (Hons) Person Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy, P.G cert. (Primary Mental Health Care), Person Centred Creative Arts Counsellor (Practitioner member of APCCA).

Jenna Francis- School Counsellor (MBACP), Dip Integrative Counselling, BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy

Please find to follow the link to the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy Code of Ethical Framework that our Counselling Team work within:

What Can We Offer?

Sessions are free to attend and last for up to 45 minutes per week within one of our confidential counselling rooms within the school and sixth form premises.

Offering a weekly session on the same day (wherever possible) during the teaching day which provide students the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with their counsellor and offers continuity and clear boundaries around when our sessions are held. This can feel containing and reassuring for student’s around knowing when their sessions will be booked in and can provide a feeling of safety and security. We are able to offer up to 6 appointments of counselling per block of sessions, however students are very welcome to be re-referred into our service should they wish to access counselling during their student life at Thurstable.

We kindly ask that a 3 month period passes prior to a new referral being made through Miss Swan or Mr Muttock to allow space for students to process what has come up in their sessions and give students the opportunity to put into practice therapeutic skills they may have learnt to help to manage their emotional distress. Our counselling team also offer a timetable of emotional wellbeing workshops to students that will include; anxiety and exam stress management, creative art’s course, building self-esteem, resilience and healthy friendship’s and adapting to life changes.

Please note that we endeavour to book sessions with students at the soonest time following a referral, however due to high demand during the second half of the academic year there could be a long waitlist of up to 8 -12 weeks. We work closely with external agencies and have contact details that we can provide for parents should students require more urgent support and wish to access outside of school counselling agencies.


A referral can be made through Miss Swan or Mr Muttock. If you are a parent and would like your child to access our school counselling service, please request to speak to a member of the sixth form team to discuss your child’s situation directly.

For students in Year 13, an online self referral form can be accessed by the following link:

Where a student is identified as suitable for Sixth form Counselling, a detailed form is completed by the referrer outlining the key issues that a student is experiencing so that we can assess each student’s needs and also consider onward referrals to external organisations where appropriate. This is where it is in the best interest of our students to receive more specialised mental health support i.e. in the case where a child presents with suicidal ideation, eating disorders, or are currently self harming.

Referral Process

Completed referral forms are emailed or self referred from our online link to our counselling team and are then triaged in order of urgency and added to our counselling waitlist. One of our counsellors will be in touch with the student and referrer as soon as we are able to offer a consultation appointment to discuss each student’s needs and explore what the student wishes to gain from their counselling sessions.

Crisis Section

Please always contact your family GP and/or the Mental Health CRISIS team if you are worried about your child’s mental health or if your child has disclosed suicidal ideation or risk to self or others in the first instance: 0800 953 0222 Referrals can be made at: CRISIS team: 0300 555 1201.

Useful Links