10 Aug 2020

COUNSELLING at Sha Tin College

Welcome to the new school year!  Sha Tin College is a richer place for our community connections.  It will be wonderful to meet all our new students and staff, too, even if it is online, at first.

We are sensitive to the current situation in Hong Kong which may be unsettling and that some students feel apprehensive about what is happening. That is understandable.

All the adults at Sha Tin College are here to make sure the school is a safe place where students can be with friends, have lots of opportunities to learn, have fun and make terrific memories.  Our routines help make students feel comfortable because they know what is happening and what to expect each day. We regularly remind students of all the people who are available to listen, anytime.  We hope the year ahead for every student is successful and fulfilling, but at times, even small changes can make students feel uneasy, especially at first.

For these reasons, we are sharing this information about counselling at Sha Tin College for those students who would like to talk to someone who is NOT a teacher. Seeing a counsellor provides a CONFIDENTIAL place to talk about any worries, decisions or concerns. Counselling IS available online during distance learning. Some students see counsellors to talk about issue like –

  • Academic expectations
  • Fear of failure
  • Concerns about friendship or relationships
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Identity
  • Depression
  • Feeling too stressed
  • How to manage change and other life decisions
  • Family conflict or pressures at home that affect school life.

Many students who seek help tell us that speaking with a counsellor gives them enormous relief. Counsellors make no judgements.  They listen carefully and show empathy. The counsellor will do her best to help you with your issues.

Don’t be afraid to get help.

The Counselling Team

We employ one full time and two part time counsellors. In addition, we benefit from an Intern.

These counsellors are –

  • Caroline Blyth (email: cab@shatincollege.edu.hk): Caroline is our full time counsellor at STC. Her most recent post was as the counsellor at Discovery Bay International School and she also worked with St John’s Counselling Hong Kong.  Caroline is very familiar with the ESF and her children attend one of our sister schools.  She is very experienced and well suited to the culture and practices of Sha Tin College.
  • Joanna Day (email: joanna@shatincollege.edu.hk) and Rachel Autherson (email: rachel@shatincollege.edu.hk), both qualified and experienced counsellors, are familiar with the people, values and practices at our school. They understand our school culture and their beliefs align with ours. They work in each year group, with Mrs Rowlands, Tutors, Heads of Section and Heads of Year,  in addition to Learning Support and Marisa To, our Social Worker.
  • Angela Socha (email: socha@shatincollege.edu.hk) has a Master of Counselling and a Master of Applied Psychology with a focus in educational psychology. She has considerable experience counselling STC students.

* N.B. – There is no cost to parents for our in-school counselling service.

Here are photos of our counsellors –

Ms Caroline Blyth
Ms Joanna Day
Ms Rachel Autherson
Ms Angela Socha
At Sha Tin College Monday – Friday
At Sha Tin College on Wed or Thurs
At Sha Tin College on Tuesday
At Sha Tin College on Monday


Location of Counsellors:  Room 102 on the Ground Floor in the “Wellbeing and Counselling Centre”.

How Counselling Works:

Mrs Rowlands is the contact point for all counselling.  Heads of Year and Tutors might recommend counselling but it is not compulsory for students UNLESS it is necessary for a reason the teachers decide are in the student’s best interests.

Students can refer themselves for counselling.  There is a banner on the SMART homepage with links to counsellor contact information.

Students who desire counselling will receive an email from one of the counsellors inviting you to an appointment.  Normally, students are with counsellors between 50 – 60 minutes, so do not return to lessons. There is no obligation for parents to be informed their daughter/son is attending counselling, though the counsellors encourage students to include their families in discussions.  Students see counsellors for one session, or more i.e. approximately the length of one lesson.  Everyone is unique, but the average number of sessions is between six and eight sessions.

  • Confidential, trusting relationships are essential to effective counselling.

The counsellors tell students who attend counselling that what they talk about during counselling is confidential UNLESS there is any risk to themselves, or others.  It is then the counsellor’s responsibility to inform the student that confidentiality will be broken and there are strict rules about how counsellors do this. They know how important it is to students that there are people at school with whom they can speak, in confidence, and their privacy is protected.

Expectations of students:

  • Students are told to notify subject teachers ahead of their absence, then catch up with any missed work/assessments. The counselling team are especially careful not to schedule students for lessons which result in any subject being missed more than once per term. There are exceptions to this if cases are urgent, if parents are in school for appointments or if any member of the counselling team is ill. Counsellors also regularly see students during break times.
  • If students miss or ‘forget’ successive appointments, the counsellors and HoY/HoS discuss this and may remove the student from counselling because there are always other students in need of the appointments.
  • It is essential that students reply to, and check their emails, when involved with counselling. Students who don’t confirm appointments may also be removed from the counselling list.

Marisa To (Room 102 B)  our social worker and our school nurse, also have very important roles in the wellbeing of students. They work extremely closely with Mrs Rowlands, the Guidance and Achievement teams and the counsellors.  They also all work very closely with Ms Loebig and her Learning Support colleagues. Marisa is present in school four days a week (other than Wednesday) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30p.m.  If a student wishes to see our social worker, she/he can email, telephone or call into their rooms to make an appointment. If students would rather ask Tutors or Heads of Year to contact the counsellors or social worker for them, that is fine. The best appointment times for counsellors or the social worker are worked out with individual students.

Our nurse is at school every day.  Students can call in to see her, with injuries or because of illness.  If students are too sick to stay at school, they are sent home, with parent permission.  If the nurse decides students are well enough to return to lessons, she sends the students back to class with a note explaining why they were absent (This is for no more than ten or fifteen minutes). The nurse is also responsible for communicating illness and/or injuries with all the relevant teachers and she issues students with Lift Passes when they have injuries, such as broken legs, which means they cannot use the stairs.

Marisa To – Social Worker


Nurse – New nurse, Angela Chiu, will begin at STC on September 7.