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We know that being at secondary school can be a daunting proposition at times, with learning, homework, enrichment and friendships to consider. At National, there are many ways in which students can access advice if they are struggling or need support with a particular issue.

Tutors and staff

The academy are proud to have a range of ways in which to support students with any pastoral concerns they might have. These include:
• Personal tutor / co-tutor
• Head of Year / Assistant Head of Year
• 48 trained peer mentors
• the ‘Big School Buddy’ and ‘Aunties and Uncles’ transition programme
• ‘Listening Service’ scheme including the academy chaplaincy team

If students have any concerns or simply need to talk about an issue that is making them anxious, unhappy or scared, then all of the above individuals will be able to support. All staff members have received training to listen to any concerns, and can provide expert support on issues relating to the curriculum – there are plenty of places to get the help needed at the academy; ultimately we want all students to enjoy their National experience and get the most out of their learning.

Counselling service

Student Counselling/Drop in Service

  • Many people will at some stage experience bereavement or loss, family issues, relationship difficulties, anxiety or bullying and at the moment, there may be lots of things worrying or upsetting you, especially at the moment.
  • Talking these issues through with a friendly and qualified professional has shown to help manage difficult emotions & help you gain a better understanding of yourself and relationships with others.
  • Our School counsellor works within our Academy every Monday to Thursday, and provides a confidential service, and gives the chance to talk to an impartial person who is not going to judge you or tell you what to do, or how to think.
  • Our students constantly feedback positively about the service and many would recommend a friend and the majority see positive improvements in their behaviour, friendships and emotional health.

There are 2 ways to access the service:

Morning break drop-in sessions

If you would like to come for a drop-in session to ‘let off some steam’ or have a good grumble, there is no need to book in advance – speak to any member of staff who will call a member of leadership to walk you over to room 12b for a chat. This is so you can be protected whilst crossing other student’s ‘bubble’. At the bell, you will be trusted to walk back to your P3 lesson.


If you feel your problems are a bit more complex and may take some time to work through, speak to any member of staff and ask them to complete a referral form. This is sent to the counsellor who will contact you with a time to meet to discuss what your needs are and make a plan.

Confidentiality is so important that you may have counselling without your parents’ permission or even without them knowing provided the counsellor believes you are mature enough to understand what counselling is all about. Whilst we respect your right for confidentiality, the counsellor will always encourage you to speak to parents about the issues that brought you to counselling if you can.

Sue Whittaker

Academy Counsellor


Further to the above, we are partnered with Tootoot – the student e-service. It is a safe and secure web-based safeguarding tool, which allows our students to report any issues, incidents or concerns in an anonymous, confidential and discrete manner.

Find out more about this service here: