Services available (Secondary and Primary Schools):
Counselling for pupils to support them with identity development, enhance their resiliency skills, and develop the resources to manage their relationships with others in their life. Effective counselling seeks to empower the young person to develop their coping skills and make positive changes in their lives. It can include working with individuals, their families and relevant school staff.Interventions may include developing, helping and/or supporting the delivery of skill development programmes, as well as providing specialist advice to staff and the community and making referrals. Counselling activities may also include providing mediation between pupils, as well as between pupils and staff.
Group counselling for pupils
One factor that can be crucial in helping pupils feel better about what’s going on for them is when they find other young people that they connect with. I run groups which provide a safe nurturing environment for young people to share their current life struggles and receive encouragement, support and feedback from their peers who share similar feelings. The purpose of the group is to help the young person by utilizing the power of the group process. Frequently group members vicariously learn coping skills and gain self-awareness. The young people in the group often serve as a great source of acceptance and support for one another.
Group counselling also has the advantage of being less expensive, since the therapy costs are shared among group members.
I run a number of different support groups for children (7-8), older children, (9–12) and teenagers (13–16 & 16-18). Some examples are:
- Anger Management
- Confidence, Assertiveness and Self-esteem
- Coping with loss of a parent through death
- Coping with parents’ separation or divorce
- Dealing with anxiety
- Exam stress
- Living with a chronic illness or cancer
I work intensively with the families of the pupils in your school causing the most concern. Interventions range from single Strengthening Families meetings to a series of weekly, fortnightly or half termly support meetings – I support and empower parents to work with the school to address the needs of their child. In most cases, without a change in the family dynamic and parenting style the long lasting positive behaviour change of the pupil will not occur.
The quality of parenting plays an inherent role in preventing and supporting children’s school behaviour. I run workshops designed for use with parents who would like to improve their relationship with their children and have a better understanding of challenging behaviour.
The workshops have been designed to empower, motivate and enable parents to develop parenting strategies within the context of a supportive and non-judgemental environment. The workshop(s) has a number of objectives, such as:
- To increase the self-esteem of parents and their children.
- To increase parents’ beliefs in their own ability as a parent.
- To improve parents’ understanding of their children’s behaviours.
- To be able to identify and label emotional triggers in oneself and one’s children.
- To enable parents to identify potential conflict situations and to further develop personal strategies with which to cope more effectively.
- To encourage parents to work in partnership with the school to support their child.
Information sessions for parents.
Practical information sessions to inform and support parents on a wide range of topics such as:
- Dealing with your child’s exam stress
- Managing your child’s emotions
- Drug and alcohol use/misuse
- Online safety
- Cyber bullying
- Restorative Practices
- Step parenting
- Supporting your child through separation
- Sexual identity
Some examples of previous training and workshops:
- Relationships that characterise great schools
- Dealing with challenging behaviour confidently
- How to teach children with anxiety
- Anxiety and disruptive behaviour in children
- Teacher wellbeing
- Restorative practices in schools: A relational approach to managing behaviour
- Strategies for Working with Challenging Parents
- Planning a behaviour management flowchart
- Working as a team
- Teaching angry children
- Leading restoratively
- Restorative practice and bullying
- Stress Management
- The challenge of culture change. Embedding restorative practices
- Rethinking behaviour management
- Relational learning
- An introduction to restorative practice
- Creating inclusive environments
- Positive behaviour for learning
- Recognising pupils as risk
- Practical and realistic support, advice and recommendations for teachers, school leaders and governors in all areas of behaviour management. This could include:
- Observations and interventions for individuals or groups of pupils causing concern as well as working with their families
- A collaborative review of the school or classroom environment, systems and practices a school has in place to support the pupils to make positive behaviour choices
- Support with behaviour and learning from a whole school as well as an individual child perspective<
I work with you to ensure a robust implementation of the following:
- The school environment is positive and supportive
- Expectations are consistently clear
- Pupils are consistently taught desired behaviours
- Pupils are consistently acknowledged for desired behaviours, and undesirable behaviours are responded to in a fair and equitable way
The outcomes should be:
- Incidents of serious problem behaviour decline
- The general low level poor behaviour of pupils improves
- Teachers spending more time teaching
- Pupils more engaged and achieving
My personal experience of successfully facilitating whole school culture shifts, from a traditionally punitive behavioural management approach to a whole school restorative practice relational approach in several schools means I can offer the following:
- Practical staff training on Restorative Practices
- Establishing Restorative Practice Implementation Teams
- Parenting information evenings
- Pupil lessons and assemblies on Restorative Practices
- Strengthening staff relationships
This package provides schools with the support to:
- Create a healthy, inclusive workplace.
- Reduce in work-related sickness absence (with a focus on stressors at work).
- Reduce Sickness absence: (A mental health issue is one of the greatest causes of sickness absence in the UK).
- Address the stigma that surrounds mental health and prevents open discussion on the subject.
- Reduce Presenteeism (showing up to work when ill, resulting in a loss of productivity and sometimes making an individual’s condition worse). This is particularly prevalent with teachers.
- Reduce staff turnover.
- Provide mental health first aid training for managers/leaders. (Only 24% of managers have received some form of training on mental health.)
- Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan.
- Establish systems to monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
a) Support for every staff member including those who may be thriving with a long term mental health condition
b) Targeted support for those who are struggling
c) Tailored support for those who are ill and possibly off work
The above suggestions for implementation are all recommended in the Thriving at Work: the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers Report (October 2017).
Help your staff feel supported!
Reduce levels of sickness and stress!
Increase productivity and performance!
Thousands of teachers in the UK are on long-term stress leave, with numbers rising each year. In total, teachers have taken 1.3 million days off work over the last four years, because of stress or mental health problems. Teachers are reporting an increasing amount of pressure in their work due to a combination of policy changes, budget cuts, real-term salary cuts, fewer staff and bigger classes. Teachers work more unpaid overtime than any other profession – classroom teachers often work 55 hours or over a week, while most school leaders routinely work over 60 hours a week. It is no wonder that almost 40 % of sick days are stress related.
Providing your team with the right help when they are having a difficult time at work or at home can avoid problems escalating. My experience as a teacher and as Deputy Head in a large secondary school ensures a clear understanding of the current issues facing your organisation in the delivery of your work, i.e., organisational structures, working roles, important work periods, work environment, organisational working relationships, key health and safety requirements and specific work locations. My service is completely confidential and provides support from a specialist who understands the demands of working in education.
As a qualified and experienced professional, I am trained to recognise and assist with overcoming problems which may be affecting home and work lives including work stress, financial worries, alcohol, depression, relationships, grief and physical illness.
Enquire about one of the following services to help meet the stress-related needs of your staff:
• On-Site Staff Support Counselling Services
You and your staff have access to confidential counselling support on-site. This allows the establishment of relationships of trust which are fundamental to addressing personal and work-related issues. This is a proactive model of care which enables opportunity for discussing concerns. affirmation, encouragement, education and problem resolution. On-site support enables your staff to stay at work if they prefer, whilst allowing them to address any issues they are facing.
• Off- Site Staff Support Counselling Services
This service operates between 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday. During this time all services are available either via online counselling or telephone counselling. Weekend support is also available on request.
“A critical incident may be defined as any sudden and unexpected incident or sequence of events which causes trauma within a school community and which overwhelms the normal coping mechanisms of that school.” (Department of Education).
This service supports you in preparing for a managing a critical incident at your school:
- Pre-crisis support includes reviewing and advising on your Critical Incident Strategy and Plan and training your Critical Incident Team.
- Crisis support during an incident includes ensuring implementation of the Critical Incident Plan, supporting the Leadership Team, staff, pupils and parents where appropriate.
- Post crisis support including counselling support where necessary, debriefing and reviewing the Critical Incident Plan and implementation.
My experience includes providing crisis support and counselling to many schools, community members and emergency support personnel in the UK, Thailand, New Zealand and the Middle East. Critical incidents include working in Thailand after the Asian Tsunami and in Kuwait, after the Gulf War, as well as working with individual schools following a death of a staff member and pupil(s).
Confidential and tailored support that enables you to continue to develop in confidence and capability as a leader of learning and to maximise your potential as a leader. You will be supported in your own learning journey to be able to act strategically to achieve the aspirations of your school community and make a positive difference.
Areas of coaching and support can include:
- managing change
- leading staff
- leadership dilemmas
- increasing confidence
- staff and stakeholder relationships
- leading learning
- counselling and emotional support
- professional leadership inquiry
You will be encouraged to take time and space for yourself to sustain your resilience and personal and professional effectiveness, to better meet the constant demands of the job in an ever-changing environment.
Support can be provided face to face, online or over the telephone.
I have worked as a Restorative Practice consultant with Sharon in two New Zealand High Schools. Her role as Head of Student Welfare/Guidance in the first, and as Deputy Principal in the second, and the strong connection I built with her over a period of several years has given me a deep insight to her competence as a practitioner and strength in her leadership. Her work, in my experience both working with her and observing how she works with others, is intelligent, exemplary and done with great integrity and compassion.
Thorsborne and Associates UK.
I have had the pleasure of working with Sharon in a range of environments in New Zealand and UK and have seen her reach out and connect in inspirational ways with both students and adults. Her positivity is infectious and she is often the catalyst for turning people’s lives around. Sharon is the ultimate compassionate professional and I still turn to her for support as I navigate my way through the transitions of life.
Matt Messias (Principal), Atrium Studio School, Devon
We consulted Sharon when we had problems amongst our students that had been exacerbated by social media. She was able to offer effective help and support to both staff and students and as a consequence we adapted our school policies. As a result, staff felt more confident and students felt more secure. A very positive result. We would not hesitate to consult Sharon again!
James (Head of Department) Gwent.
Sharon has been working with Llandeilo Primary School as part of a wider collaborative wellbeing project in Carmarthenshire.
We began working on behaviour strategies for families with pupils in the Reception class, whose behaviour was impacting on their learning and the learning of others. They were also identified as being ‘at risk’ of exclusion in the future.
Sharon also ran a series of small nurture groups for identified pupils during the holidays. The holiday nurture workshops have been successful and the pupils benefitted hugely from attending. It has provided them with strategies for calming and understanding their emotions, particularly when anxious.
Sharon provided training for staff and parents. As a result of this project, the partnership between the parents of these pupils and the school improved. The parents were impressed with how the programme could support not just the behavioural and emotional aspects of their child, but also the honest advice for the whole family, including separated parents working together.
As a result of this project we have become fully committed to developing early partnerships with parents around behaviour and we are looking to fully embed the strategies so brilliantly modelled by Sharon. She is a fantastic role model and works in a calm and thoughtful manner with all our pupils. She is having a beneficial impact on the pupils and parents that she works with and therefore on the school as a whole.
I am extremely grateful for having had to the opportunity to work with her.
K Towns (Head Teacher, Llandeilo Primary School)
You have written an outstanding handbook on behaviour management and restorative practices for our school! Absolutely brilliant and will be an essential part of a teacher’s tool-kit here at One Tree Hill College.
N. Coughlan (Principal, One Tree Hill College)
We are absolutely delighted with the outstanding leadership you are taking in implementing Restorative Practices. Your passion is infectious and your thirst for knowledge and expertise are impressive. Thank you for all the hard work and enthusiasm you are bringing to the task!
S Offner (Ex Second Principal Howick College)
Sharon is an outstanding professional in every respect. I have worked closely with her and respect her intelligence and her capacity to problem solve. Her counselling skills coupled with her strong interpersonal relationships with staff and students alike ensure she is an asset to any school.
M. Hutchinson, Principal (Ret) Green Bay High School
I have no reservations in offering my highest recommendation for Sharon. I would rate her among the top five teachers I have worked with in my eighteen years as a head of department and administrator in international schools.
R. Brown, Principal Al Bayan Bilingual School
Sharon’s strength is very much in her person. She is a clear communicator of high integrity with a strong sense of social justice. I have been impressed with her relationships with students who prove difficult for other staff. She is an active listener, has articulate interpersonal skills, is confident and appropriately challenging. She is genuine, realistic and creative.
N Silipa Counsellor/Learning Support, Avondale College