Our counselling services offer students group and personal support throughout their school careers. We offer a range of services with an aim to provide students with all the support possible so they can be successful in their academic as well as personal development.

The Head of Year coordinates the work of the tutors and Personal and Social Education teachers. They will also supervise the progress of each pupil in their year group and are responsible for communicating and working together with parents for their wellbeing.

Support for special needs and learning disabilities

We provide additional support for children with learning disabilities or special needs that may affect their performance when they are studying. As the first point of contact for pupils, the Tutor is responsible for their well being under his care and can offer them guidance.

In order to ensure they are given the support they require we alert their tutors to any special needs and suggest how the student can be supported to overcome these and thrive academically. Examples of personalised support given may include additional time during examinations, a separate space which may help their concentration or even the use of computers during this time (for example for dysgraphic students who may benefit from writing in a computer).

We regularly consult with specialists for specific student needs or educational requirements and share their suggestions with all staff so they can provide a more supportive environment.

When students sit international examinations, we liaise with the examination entities to request special considerations for these students.

Parents who are open about their children's special needs can help their child benefit from extra support from the school to help the student succeed in school.

Personal and Social Education (PSE) programme

Our PSE programme is provided from Early Years all the way on to secondary 4 and consists of one period each week where the students have the opportunity to discuss everything related to Markham school life. The PSE teachers establish the formative themes implemented throughout the Upper School and for the orientation of pupils. These themes are age appropriate and are designed to respond to the ever-changing needs in the pupils’ socio-psychological development.
These sessions are led by counsellors (tutors may also participate) to help them discuss these issues in a safe environment whilst providing guidance and support.

Students Teaching Students

We run a Students Teaching Students (STS) Council which is led by the students themselves. These students are interested and enjoy helping fellow students learn and develop academically in the best way possible. There are 10 council members who act as both teachers and coordinators. They work with a network of other 40 students who teach (students range from secondary 2-6).

The benefits of this setup include students being able to share their learning whilst developing friendships with older students in an academic situation. The student seeking support takes ownership over their education and commits to improving their performance.

Though this programme is designed for students by students, parents may contact the council’s captain directly to ask for someone to be assigned to helping their child in whatever subject they may need.

The school aims to provide as much internal support as possible so parents don’t require external support to help their children thrive.

Big brother / big sister programme

New students: big brother / big sister programme: this initiative is led by students in secondary 5 and 6 who already hold a responsibility role (e.g. prefects). Students who join the school later on in the academic career are assigned a big brother or sister before starting classes who can guide them during this initial period. We also have a buddy system (usually a student from the same tutor group) who will accompany the new student until they are settled in. The buddy can help clarify doubts, explain the school system and also helps the new student feel welcome into their new academic home.

Primary 6 students who are starting school in the San Antonio campus are also assigned a big brother or big sister from secondary 5 or 6. The aim of this programme is for the new students to receive support in getting acquainted with the new school system and campus, receive regular sessions with an older peer who can also help them feel safe when interacting with older students.

Career counselling

The school has developed a series of activities and programmes to help students choose the next step in their educational careers:

  • Secondary 3 hold PSE sessions on careers s the students can start considering what they may be interested in pursuing.
  • Students in Secondary 4 do vocational tests and will then choose whether they want to continue into the national programme or do the IB based on their career interest. Based on their choice they will receive advice on course selection for the next year.
  • Secondary 5 students receive ongoing support with the selection and application to universities.
  • Counselling corner: this is a safe space offered to students where they can ask anything they want about careers, applications, etc. and get customised support.
  • UCAS: guidance for secondary 6 students considering applying to British universities. We help them in the whole application process - from selecting which universities to apply based on their career interest, how to apply, timings, etc.
  • College Search: this programme of weekly sessions is for secondary 5 and 6 students who are considering American universities.
  • Universities’ fairs: we hold several fairs throughout the years for students to get an opportunity to learn about potential opportunities in national and international universities. Most years we have universities visiting from Peru, UK, USA, Canada and Australia, amongst others.
  • We invite university representatives to visit the school and talk to students (and their parents) about the opportunities they can offer.

Parents are welcome to participate in the fairs, attending university representatives sessions and are also able to request private meetings with the counselling department.

Sessions with parents

Open communication between parents and staff is encouraged to better meet the emotional needs of each pupil and to monitor their individual development and academic progress.

These meetings held with parents touch on a wide range of issues with which their children may be faced in their lives, considering the needs, situations and social factors which correspond to the age and development of their children.

The school counsellors discuss issues such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, bullying, violence, eating disorders, etc. and provide suggestions on how to provide the support the children may need to handle these issues in a positive manner.

These talks are programmed throughout the academic year with the support of professionals who are specialised in the themes and topics presented.

The Pastoral Care team consists of a team of four counsellors and four university counsellors who provide support services for Upper School students and their parents.