Support for Learning
Read about school counselling and special pedagogy at the International School of Älmhult.
The Role of the Counsellor
In Sweden all schools have a counsellor who works with students and staff. The counsellor's main task is to promote a good psycho-social work environment for students in the school. Activities include work to prevent bullying and to promote effective communication. The Counsellor aims to support the achievement of a balanced school life for all students.
A lot of the counsellor's work involves conversation. The talks can take place with individual students, with student groups or classes, with parents and with staff. The talks can be off different nature. The talks may be supportive, motivating or about feelings and thoughts that students may have.
School counsellor is bound by confidentiality, which means that he or she cannot tell anyone what was said during the talks. The counsellor can only share information with teacher or other authorities, e.g. BUP if there is an agreement with the student or/and parents. The counsellor can have talks with a student without consent from the parents if the student is 12 years old and depending how mature the student is. With younger students the counsellor must have consent from parents. The counsellor has the right to withhold information from the student's parents if there is a risk that the child may be put in a danger, e.g. suspected child abuse. The confidentiality can be broken by a so called notification to the social services if that a child is suspected to be threatened, suspects of any kind of abuse or if the student is treated seriously ill in any way.
Duty to Report
According to the law of social service (SoL) Chapter 14, § 1 a counsellor is guilty to notify the social service if there is a suspicion that a child is mistreated. It may be a suspicion regarding, e.g. physical or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, that a child doesn't get their basic needs such as lack of food, clothing and care. This also applies to other staff at the school.
The Counsellor’s Role at ISÄ
- The counsellor is available primarily for students, and for staff for consulting and or coaching regarding students.
- If a situation occurs, teachers try to resolve the situation first, because it is the teacher who has the most contact with the student and is the person at school who knows the student best.
- Parents should first turn to the teachers regarding situations that affect their children. If the teacher sees a need for a student to have talks with the counsellor, the teacher can suggest this to parents and obtain consent for the talks with student under the age of 12 years. It is good to inform parents that their child needs to see the counsellor even if the child is older than 12 years because it is always good to have the parents on board.
- The counsellor will be involved when the teacher feels that they cannot handle a situation, on request of the principal and the parents or if the student comes to the counsellor on their own.
- To be able to know group dynamics, the counsellor can be present in the classroom, to look at interactions between students and/or between students and staff.
- The counsellor should socialize with students during breaks and at other times where it's possible for students and counsellor to get to know each other.
Contact school Counsellor
PYP School counsellor
Sanne Anne Verdonk
MYP School counsellor
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
It is the policy of the school to assist with SEN when required. We have access to specialists within the district who can provide guidance for our staff as required, or who can provide help within the school for specific students. A local student health group exists. Heads of Schools may apply to this group for financial support to fund a SEN teacher assistant or provide money for the purchase of necessary resources to boost those of the school. The school has a counsellor and a school nurse who are available at the school half a day per week.
Where students arrive from overseas and need support in English the school provides a language support assistant. Funding for this is provided by IKEA. This support can be given on a one to one basis or in the case of pre-school children, within the pre-school classroom and under the guidance of the pre-school teachers. Naturally the class teacher of any student receiving language support is also closely involved in this process.
Assessment procedures are used to calculate the child's development and linguistic competence before any further placement is carried out. This ensures that the student is working towards the correct targets for its year group but is placed in a year group according to his/her ability. The parents are also informed at regular intervals, during teacher/parent conferences, of their child's development. Parents are expected to provide home support where additional practise is carried out after the end of the school day, and when the parents are able to do this.
In order to provide a nurturing environment for the multiplicity of languages of the student group the school has a detailed language policy. This policy clearly defines the school's recognition of the different linguistic backgrounds and cultures of the student group. It also clearly supports the development of the student's mother tongue and encourages parents to be pro-active in the development of this. The school is adjacent to the main library where resources in different languages can be borrowed on request.
Other Special Needs
Where a child with Special Needs, other than a need of support in English, joins the school the parents are requested to provide detailed documentation explaining the specific difficulty that the child has. These documents are then used to make an official application to the local educational authorities for the provision of a specially trained assistant.
The school most often has been able to manage the SEN of any student within the school using its own team of teachers.
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