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Counselling Service

In St Cecilia’s College pupils will have access to the Familyworks counselling service in several ways:​

  • through St Cecilia’s pastoral care system, when a teacher may refer the child on to the counsellor through the Designated Teacher;

  • through self-referrals made by the child herself

  • through requests from parents concerned about their child

​Counselling is carried out on a one-to-one basis within the school, in a room dedicated to pastoral care matters. Counselling sessions are voluntary and confidential (unless issues of child protection arise). They may last for a few sessions, or longer.

Familyworks Counselling Service are an organisation working in Northern Ireland, and people are the core of all that they do. Established in Newtownards in 1999, they provide counselling in Primary School and Post Primary Schools throughout Northern Ireland. They offer support, advice, guidance and training to individuals, families and communities. They employ a range of methods including counselling, mediation, coaching and supervision. Their vision is to help empower people to become themselves.

Their Post Primary Schools Service is delivered in partnership with the Department of Education, through the Independent Counselling Service for Schools. They deliver weekly counselling to Post-Primary including Special schools, as well as a drop-in service for pupils who have quick queries or worries.


During COVID-19, they continue to offer counselling support in St. Cecilia’s College. It is possible for a pupil to self-refer via their website , a parent may request a referral for their child or a teacher may suggest a referral for your child.

All counsellors receive supervision of their work, to ensure the quality of their practice.

The name of our counsellor is: Vanessa Gillespie

​​If you have any questions about this service you can call Familyworks on 02891821721 or contact the School on 02871 281800

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