Yellow flowers




Trust Counsellor

Meet the Kings Academy Trust School Counsellor -
David Montoya

I joined Kings Academy Trust as School Counsellor in 2022. Since then I have been supporting children at all Kings Academy Trust sites with counselling sessions and drop in sessions. I also work closely with the pastoral team, intervention team, safeguarding team, teachers and parents.

I am a qualified and accredited Psychotherapist and Counsellor. I am an experienced counsellor of young people, having set-up and delivered a counselling programme at a pupil referral unit for children with behavioural, emotional and special educational needs.    

I have over 14 years of experience working with children and I have been counselling children for the last 8 years.

To keep myself up to date with current issues and frames of work, I have completed a child psychology diploma and a Neuroscience and development child psychology diploma. I also regularly complete various CPD training courses in child and adolescent mental health. I am also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Neurodiversity.

I have a great deal of experience with child mental health issues and complex learning difficulties such as ADHD and autism. I use a range of therapeutic models depending on age and needs, including play, Art and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other models to help children cope with the demands of school life, help with social skills and help them deal with change and loss. 

I am a big advocate of inclusion, disadvantaged and disenfranchised pupils and I ensure that children are not discriminated against for any reason.

What is Counselling – How does it work ?

Counselling and therapy are both types of talking therapy. They involve talking about, or even exploring through art and other creative materials, feelings, thoughts and experiences. This can help children and young people to make sense of what is going on in their life and find ways of coping during difficult times.

At any time pupils may need extra emotional support beyond the normal pastoral care offered by teaching staff or the intervention team. Pupils who have suffered bereavement, trauma, family break-up, who are young carers, or are experiencing other emotional difficulties may benefit from the opportunity to speak to an adult who is not directly involved with their education.

School based counselling provides that opportunity and offers pupils a comfortable, non-judgemental and confidential safe space to talk about their difficulties, so that these issues do not become a barrier to their learning and self-development.

An effective counselling service needs to be responsive to pupils needs and must operate as an integral part of a school’s pastoral care provision. This requires a collaborative and cooperative partnership. Here at Kings Academy Trust the key parties to this partnership are the Headteacher, Safeguarding Team and the School Counsellor.  The Designated Safeguarding Lead is the main point of contact.

If your child is struggling with their emotions (which may present as behavioural issues), it can be really difficult and worrying as a parent.  It might feel like a big step to decide to reach out to a counsellor or therapist. Parents tell me that when they were in this situation, they worried about whether they had done something wrong, or whether their child’s counsellor or school would blame them. In fact, lots children and young people come to counselling at some point, and for all sorts of reasons, and a counsellor and school should work with you supportively to think about what’s going on and how all together we can makes things better.

Counselling can help young people deal with a range of personal problems. Common issues addressed by counsellors in schools include:

  • Anger / aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Body image
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional issues
  • Exam stress
  • Family breakdown
  • Illness
  • Loss/bereavement
  • Low self-confidence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Puberty
  • Relationships and sex
  • Self-harm
  • Sexual identity
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma
  • Young carer responsibility

Depending on the pupil’s age and what stage they are at, the counsellor may utilise a combination of therapeutic play, art therapy or talking therapy. The counsellor will establish a therapeutic relationship with the child or young person through acceptance, trust and empathy providing them with an opportunity to express and process feelings at their own level and pace.