A Word from our Counsellor

Within a school environment students may experience a wide range of behavioural, emotional, social and psychological issues that, if left untreated, may jeopardise their wellbeing and learning.

“If it’s important to you, it’s important to me”. That is the statement that every student will hear from me as we begin the Bayside Education journey together.

I believe that school and learning should be something which all children can and should look forward to every day. Not to say that some days aren’t tough – and some are tougher than others – but with a strong sense of belonging, connectedness and support, every challenge is an opportunity to move closer to being the very best version of ourselves.

– Marissa Francis

We Know our Students Wellbeing is Critical

Within a school environment students may experience a wide range of behavioural, emotional, social and psychological issues that, if left untreated, may jeopardise their wellbeing and learning. Examples include mental illnesses, friendship difficulties, family breakdowns, relationship issues, eating disorders, bullying, traumatic events, alcohol and substance abuse, self-esteem and identity difficulties. 

Bayside Christian College provides short term professional counselling services to assist students and their families deal with issues that may hinder their development.  

Bayside Christian College is committed to providing a safe environment and assisting students develop appropriate skills and attitudes to resolve problems in academic, psychological, emotional and social contexts. 

It is our intention that: 

  • Professional counselling and psycho-education services be made available to students, staff and families regarding student’s psychological health and wellbeing; 
  • The school’s counselling services be accessible to students and the general school community; and 
  • Counsellors work within the ethical guidelines as laid out by a recognised Australian Counselling Association (e.g. The Australian Counselling Association of Australia (ACA), Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation Australia (PACFA), or the Christian Counselling Association of Australia (CCAA)). 
  • Provide preventative and point of need services directly to students, parents and teachers;
  • Provide counselling services to support students in managing short term issues at no additional cost. Where there are ongoing or acute concerns, beyond which the school Counsellor can reasonably be expected to provide for, students will be referred to external providers. 

Counselling Services
Students do not need a referral in order to use the school counselling services. These services can be accessed by all students simply by contacting the counsellor direct by conversation, email or through Student Services. School counselling services are free for all students and staff.

Accessibility of Counselling Services
The availability of the school’s counselling services are accessible to students and to the wider school community. Initiatives to ensure accessibility of the school’s counselling services include: 

  • Training all staff as to the nature and availability of the services; 
  • Providing contact details for counselling services on the school’s public website; 
  • Providing details of counselling services in the school staff handbook;
  • Providing students and parents/carers with information regarding counselling services at induction; and
  • Providing information regarding counselling services in the school newsletter on an ongoing basis.

Counselling Sessions
Counselling sessions will focus on being supportive. If appropriate, the counsellor may take a joint approach and include other staff. 

Counselling sessions may be held during class time, in breaks or before or after school. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that appointments do not clash with assessments. 

Teachers, Year Co-ordinators, Heads of School, parents and students may refer to the School Counsellor by making an appointment or communicating by email or phone.

Informed Consent
Prior to providing services, the Bayside School Counsellor will inform clients about the nature, purpose and potential consequences of the interaction, the limits to confidentiality and right of access to files. 

In the case of primary aged children, informed consent is obtained from a parent or legal guardian at enrolment. However, at a certain point, a young person can be judged to be able to independently seek psychological support and, therefore, provide informed consent in his or her own right. 

It is the responsibility of the School Counsellor to determine whether a young person possesses the ability to give informed consent for counselling services.

Parents/carers may be involved with the student’s counselling from the initial stages unless the student has voluntarily approached the Counsellor. 

The Counsellor is not required to seek the consent of both parents either in families where parents are together or separated. 

Parents/carers may seek advice from the Counsellor about their child’s progress and education options, including access to special education services and information about assistance from other agencies.

Referrals to External Specialists
Occasionally referrals will be made by the Counsellor to external professionals such as paediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists or speech pathologists. This may be the case depending on the nature of the required intervention or the degree of involvement required. 

Referrals to specialists outside the school will be discussed with the student and their parents/carers, and the rationale for this will be explained. 

A list of suitable practitioners will be given to the student or parent/carer. The Counsellor will facilitate referrals upon request and may, after receiving written consent from the parent/guardian receive reports from the external practitioner, with permission from parent/carer.

The School Counsellor maintain client confidentiality when collecting, recording, storing, disseminating, and disposing of information. However, a School Counsellor cannot keep confidential any information that reveals a risk of harm to the student or to any other person.