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Our Counselling Support

Supporting learner wellbeing

Our school is now part of the Ministry of Education’s Counselling Support in Schools programme – Awhi Mai Awhi Atu. This means we now have a free counselling service at our school to assist with your child’s wellbeing two days per week (Thursday and Friday).

Our counselling support is designed to support our learners so that they can thrive at school. It is not designed to replace existing counselling.

Our counsellors are registered professionals, carefully chosen for their skills and experience working with children and their whānau.

Counselling support can help children and young people to understand how to navigate their feelings, such as grief, anxiety, stress, or loneliness, and discover new coping skills and strategies.

We will offer both individual and group sessions depending upon the need.


Counselling can play an important role in supporting learner wellbeing.  Our counsellors will work closely with teachers and whānau, wherever possible, to get the right support in place.

Wellbeing can be understood through Duries concept of Whare Tapu Wha, which embraces balancing the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of a person. enhance the mana and wellbeing of children and their whānau.

How will counselling work in our school?

Our school has selected our counselling support to best meet the needs of our learners.  The counselling received will depend on the student and the need and will be designed by our counselling provider.

If the counselling needed is greater than can be delivered in school, help with referring on to the appropriate provider will be given.

What can I expect from this support?

Our school counsellors will:

  • be safe, honest, and trustworthy

  • listen carefully, be respectful, and value your culture, language, and identity

  • provide this service at school, in a safe space.

We want you to be involved, as much as possible, so we can work together to get the best support for your child.

You will have an opportunity to meet the counsellor, either Ngairini O’Kell or Matthew Tooley, and discuss how this support can work for you and your child.

How do I access this support?

We will contact you if we think your child might benefit from this support, alternatively and you can talk to the principal, SENCo, or any teacher if you would like to seek counselling support for your child.

We will uphold you and your child’s rights to privacy and keep all information safe. Counselling support will not be provided without your involvement.

You can request counselling for your child by completing the referral form that is on our school website and emailing it to the counselling provider, by dropping the form at school, or by asking a teacher to send a referral on your behalf.

You can also request a phone call with the counsellor by emailing your details to Vonnie Marshall.

Vonnie is the Counselling Team Leader & Awhi Mai Awhi Atu Manager for the counselling provider, Skylight Trust.

Her email address is-

Meet The Counsellors

Matthew Tooley



Kia ora koutou,

My name is Matt, I’m of both Tauiwi and Tangata Whenua descent.

Ko Ngati Kahungunu te Iwi, Ko Ngai te Kikiri O te Rangi O te Whatuiapiti te Hapu

I have experience working with both youth and adults specifically around complex trauma, anger management, anxiety, grief, loss, existential angst, decision making, lifestyle balance, group psychology, generational trauma, substance use, distress tolerance and relationships. I support people to navigate the different terrain they’re facing on their journey at a pace that’s comfortable for them and what they’re needing in the here and now.

My practice is integrative. I employ Person Centred therapy, Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy while also comfortably using Western, Eastern and Te Ao Maori perspectives. 

I look forward to working with you in the coming weeks.



Ngairini O'Kell


Hi, my name is Ngairini. I'm counsellor in the Wellington region with Skylight Trust.
I'm here to support young people, adults and families to work towards a more fulfilled life using any modalities in my list and to work through any of the issues that they face. 

I have completed a Diploma in Counselling & a Master’s in Counselling and the Arts. Included are some subjects in Art Therapy for the Master’s of Art Therapy and Fine Arts. I have experience in Art Therapy, Child Centred Therapy, Play Therapy and Emotionally Focussed Therapy, to name a few.
I have a Graduate Diploma of Teaching, (I am a fully registered Teacher of Primary and Secondary School) and a Bachelor of Visual Art. I have a Certificate IV in the Diploma of Interactive Digital Technology and Child Protection. I have also worked in the Tertiary sector as an Art Lecturer and Tutor.
I've been a Counsellor for a relationships company in Australia and in New Zealand. I have counselled and been a Teacher in both countries for twenty-three years. I've been a Mentor for youth at risk and a Youth Worker.  Before I counselled and taught, I was in Business and in the Army. 

I'm a member of NZEI Te Riu Roa, the QCT and the NZ Teachers Council. I'm fully registered in Australia and New Zealand. I'm an Art therapist and Teacher/ Lecturer as well as a Counsellor.

I look forward to working with you.


Referral Form

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