Information for Professionals


What is a Community Assistance Programme (CAP)? 
Hear2Listen's Community Assistance Programme is a comprehensive counselling service aimed at supporting children and young people within Bedfordshire aged 5-19 while providing additional support to school staff members and families. Independent and completely confidential, the CAP is designed to support children and young people in overcoming barriers to learning. The service incorporates a holistic approach where other parties (e.g. teachers or family members) are involved in enhancing children and young people's personal development. 

Service aim 
Hear2Listen is committed to delivering quality assured therapeutic interventions, providing children and young people with a safe and confidential space to work through any issues that may be preventing them from engaging with education or allowing them to lead healthy lives. Via a variety of therapies, Hear2Listen aims to enable children and young people to explore and overcome personal difficulties; providing them with essential tools and coping strategies. 

What services do we offer? 
The Community Assistance Programme currently offers the following: 


  • Counselling 

  • Play therapy 

  • Art therapy 

  • Triad work (counsellor, service user and teacher/family member) 

  • Group work 

  • Workshops 

  • Support groups 

  • Consultation on how to implement a CAP within schools, academies and clusters 

  • Listening skills training for staff 

Additional services 
Working with school staff 
Family work - enhancing the benefits of therapy by assisting family members in support of their children 

What is counselling? 
Counselling provides an opportunity for people to explore, understand and work through issues that are impacting on their everyday living within and safe and confidential environment. 

People who access counselling are free to discuss anything they choose to. Common themes are that of relationships, stress, anxiety, change, loss and trauma. 

What is meant by specialist therapy? 
Counsellors are trained in a variety of ways and some choose to specialise in areas such as art therapy, visual imagery, the use of archetypes and play therapy. These creative forms of therapy have been shown to be most effective when working with children and young people who may have difficulty with expressing the way they feel. 

Picture of teacher at the front of the class with several children with their hands raised. 

Why have counselling in a school? 
The CAP provides a safe and confidential space for children and young people to explore issues that are preventing their engagement with education. Children and young people who are experiencing difficult issues often present within lessons as either disruptive or isolating which can have an impact on teachers and peers. Helping children and young people to understand and overcome these issues can assist them in achieving their full personal and academic potential. 

The Children's Right Alliance for England (CRAE) "What do they know?" report identified that out of 138 children and young people interviewed, 82% felt that counselling services should be available to them. Over three quarters of these children and young people thought that counselling should be based within a school. 

What are the benefits of providing counselling and specialist therapies for pupils? 

Increased self-esteem 
Reduced risk of exclusion 
Improvements in behaviour and/or attendance 
Increased engagement and academic achievement 
Improved peer relationships 

What are the benefits of providing a CAP within your school? 
The CAP provides the following benefits: 

Ten years of experience providing counselling within a variety of settings including schools, criminal justice, addiction and clinical 

  • Bedfordshire wide coverage 

  • Experience staff with a range of therapeutic tool e.g. play and visualisation therapy skills 

  • Over 10 years providing therapy to children and young people with complex needs 

  • Flexible contract options 

  • Crisis management 

  • Continuity in support of children in transition between schools 

  • INSET training 

  • Implementation of policies and procedures in conjunction with individual schools, maintaining quality assurance 

  • Operation within local framework such as the Children and Young People's plan and Emotional 

  • Health and Well-being (CAMHS) 

  • Strong links with Bedfordshire organisations and services, providing service users with extensive support and referral pathways 

  • How can the Community Assistance Programme support schools with the National Healthy Schools 

  • Programme (NHSP) and Ofsted Inspections? 

  • At this time, in order to achieve healthy school status, a school must meet the minimum criteria across 4 themes including Emotional Health and Well-Being. In Central Bedfordshire 72% of schools have achieved National Healthy Schools status as of 2011 

  • In Bedford Borough, all of the schools have achieved national healthy schools status. 

Schools will be expected to maintain their healthy school status via an online tool called the 'Annual Review'. Counselling provision may be used to evidence the following sections of the annual review: 

1.4 - How does your school identify children and young people facing challenging circumstances? 
Which groups have been identified? What support is provided for these identified groups? 

6.1 - What arrangements are in place to refer children and young people to specialist services which can provide professional advice? 

6.2 - What mechanisms are in place for children and young people, parents/carers and staff to access advice confidentially? 

8.1 - Please list the external agencies that support your school for the following and briefly explain the role that they perform in line with emotional health and well-being. 

The enhanced National Healthy Schools Programme is an outcome based model for improving the health and well-being of children and young people which will: 

Involve a mixture of school-based, local and national priorities, which will be flexibly developed by schools in conjunction with key partners. 
Provide universal and targeted health interventions. 

One of the primary factors for the enhanced model is emotional well-being. Schools are tasked with identifying key outcomes around emotional well-being and encouraged to develop a project to meet those outcomes as part of the enhanced model. Implementing the CAP will enable these key outcomes to be met while providing the school with data in support of this model. 

The impact of counselling provision can contribute to the following areas of the Ofsted inspection, pupil outcomes, provision of interventions and leadership and management. Specific criteria within these areas include the extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles (A2.7), effectiveness of care, guidance and support (A3.3) and the effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being (A4.5). 

The CAP may also be cited as part of individual case studies. 

How is the service quality assured? 
The CAP offers the following quality assurance standards: 

  • Therapists are Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked 

  • Therapists are fully qualified to Counselling Diploma level or higher and suitable qualifications have been achieved in specialist areas 

  • Therapists have Professional Indemnity Insurance 

  • Therapists work confidentially and outline to clients when confidentially may be broken e.g. when a young person is at significant risk of harm to themselves or others 

  • Counsellors received individual and group clinical supervision 

  • Continual personal development line management for counsellors 

  • Counsellors are all members of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy; working 

  • towards accreditation 

  • Counsellors access regular training to develop their practice. 

When can counselling and specialist therapy be helpful? 
When parents are going through divorce or separation and there are changes in behaviour or notable signs of distress that may include isolating or disruptive behaviour 
In response to children and young people suddenly displaying uncharacteristic moods or behaviour 
Following the death of a family member or friend 
When there is knowledge or suspicion of abuse or domestic violence 
When there are difficulties with friendships and/or bullying 
When a child of young person is new to the school, area or country and it having difficulty settling in or integrating 
When a young person displays as angry, erratic or shows mood swings or signs of depression
When there are identity issues i.e. gender, cultural 
When children or young people feel overwhelmed with school work e.g. in the case of young carers having difficulties with school and life balance 
Study anxieties 
If there are health or disability needs that limit or restrict a young person's life 
When a child refuses to engage with specialist services 

Counselling can be very effective as an early intervention strategy and offers the following recognised outcomes: 
Preventing further deterioration of a child or young person's emotional health or well-being 
Development and growth of confidence and self-esteem 
Increased engagement with education and improved academic achievement 
Improvements in social skills and communication 
Healthier relationships with peers and school staff 
The effectiveness of the above can be reduced if children and young people present with entrenched issues that may require longer, more intensive work. 




Who is counselling and specialist therapy not appropriate for? 
Children and young people who do not want to engage with therapy or do not understand the reasons why they are attending. 

The effectiveness of therapy relies on a child or young people being willing to engage with the process. It is important that those young people who access the service understand why they are being referred and that they are agreeing to the process. 

Children and young people requiring specialist mental health assessment or diagnosis. 

Staff providing counselling through the CAP do not administer mental health assessments, provide a mental health diagnosis or prescribe any medication. Counsellors can, however, refer young people onto specialist mental health services where appropriate. 

In cases where a student or family member refuses to engage with specialist mental health services, counsellors are able to work alongside Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to ensure that an intervention is initiated and followed through in support of children’s emotional and mental health and well-being. 

Children and young people accessing counselling or therapy via another service. 

Hear2Listen will not usually work with a child or young people who is accessing other forms of therapy through another service. This is important in preventing an inappropriate cross-over that can risk confusing young people and will reduce the effectiveness of the service. In some rare cases where CAMHS have advised multi-agency working, a clear structure and boundaries package will first need to be agreed. 

What should we have in place before we set up a CAP in our school? 
Prior to a CAP commencing in your school, the following need to be established before work can take place: 

A location for the therapy to take place that is comfortable, private and can be used on a regular basis. 
A referral pathway between the school and/or student and Hear2Listen. In the case of a school, a single point of contact would need to be established. 
Referral criteria to be agreed between the school and Hear2Listen to ensure the right people are accessing the service. 
An identified Child Protection Liaison Officer to ensuring correct safeguarding protocols are followed in the event of a child at risk disclosure. 
Protocols for acquiring parental consent for Primary Schools including if it becomes necessary for therapists to meet with primary caregivers. 

Hear2Listen is able to advise schools on any of the above requirements to allow rapid implementation of services. 

How quickly can you respond? 
We aim to action initial enquiries within two working days. The time taken to set up the CAP 
within an establishment will depend on each individual contract at the time of request. In order to accommodate need we will make every effort to offer a limited service until a new therapist is in post. 

What happens if a child protection issues arises and/or a disclosure is made? 
Before counselling commences, an agreement between therapist and service user is made in the form of a contract that outlines boundaries and confidentiality. Therapists ensure that service users understand that confidentiality will be broken when they, or any other young person, is considered to be at significant risk of harm to others or themselves following disclosure within sessions. Therapists will outline that they are legally obligated to share the information with the designated Child Protection Liaison Officer in the interests of their safety. 

Therapists will aim to obtain the child or young person’s permission to share information and action will be taken to ensure the correct safeguarding procedures are being met for the protection of all children and young people who access Hear2Listen services. 

What information will we share with you? 
Therapists will always aim to share information with the school while working within the established boundary and confidentiality framework provided it does not interfere with the effectiveness of the work being carried out. As an alternative in some circumstances, counsellors working with young people may deem it beneficial to work alongside their clients to enable them to share information with their family or the school itself rather than taking full ownership of carrying forward the information as a professional. 

Hear2Listen staff are committed to working in collaboration with schools on all safeguarding issues. 

How does the CAP support multidisciplinary working? 
The cost of putting the CAP into place pays only for therapists to provide weekly one to one counselling with their clients. As such, therapists are unable to attend assessment and planning meetings such as Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and Team Around the Child (TAC) in person unless one of the counselling sessions are used instead. However, staff working with children and young people are able, with a clients permission, to provide a short report for the meetings. 

What happens if a counsellor or specialist therapist is off sick? 
If a counsellor or therapist is unable to make it into work due to sickness, wherever possible, they will arrange to conduct the missed session at a future convenient time. 

What happens if the school wishes to make amendments to a previously agreed contract? 
An example of this may be that the school wishes to increase or decrease the amount of agreed hours that counselling will take place. We will make every effort to accommodate each individual schools needs and will arrange for any changes to be implemented by the following school term. 

Do we need parental consent before a child or young person can access counselling? 
No work can be undertaken without a school providing a signed Single Service Request (SSR) form or a copy of a Common Assessment Framework (CAF). In Primary Schools parents are asked to sign the form as a means of giving written parental consent to the work. Most secondary schools allow their pupils to sign SSR forms in place of a parent's signature as a means of allowing them to access counselling confidentially.