Home LearningDid You Know? Aspen Heights British School empowers and connects school counsellors at Abu Dhabi School Counsellor Network meeting

Aspen Heights British School empowers and connects school counsellors at Abu Dhabi School Counsellor Network meeting

by Belinda Breeze

Aspen Heights British School, part of International School Partnership (ISP), in collaboration with Abu Dhabi School Counsellor’s Network (ADSCN), recently organised and hosted an event that sought to empower and connect school counsellors across the UAE to support wellbeing of the student community.

The ADSCN network provides a supportive platform to share experiences, knowledge, and best practices to address the holistic needs of students and contribute to their overall wellbeing, personal development, and academic success.

Guest speakers at the meeting included Dr Ruba Tabari, Educational Psychologist and ADEK consultant; Dr Sameer Awadalla, a renowned child psychiatrist; and Aysha Sulaiman Alkindi, a Clinical Psychologist from SEHA. Redah Khan, a counsellor at Aspen Heights School and one of the committee’s five co-chairs, presided over the meetings. The other co-chairs were Alison Haswell, Jennifer Guss, Tara Thompson, and Victoria Blackadder.

Experts discussed the crucial importance of mental health in children’s wellbeing and highlighted the role of schools in raising awareness and maintaining a safe environment for students of all ages. Dr Ruba Tabari kicked off the meeting with an inspiring talk on the importance of prioritising wellbeing in schools. She emphasised the power of building strong connections with children and highlighted the profound impact of genuinely listening to their concerns and offering human connection.  

The school hosted 22 counsellors who came together to discuss the importance of the wellbeing of students, and share best practise

Aysha Alkindi and Dr Sameer Awadallah provided valuable insights into the most common mental health issues and trends observed among young people today. They emphasised the need for psychoeducation, particularly for parents, to better understand and support their children’s wellbeing.

Emma Shanahan, Principal of Aspen Heights British School, said: “We value the opportunity to collaborate with other experienced and professional colleagues to focus on improving, supporting and developing the wellbeing and mental health of our children. At Aspen Heights British School, the wellbeing of our students and staff is high up on the list of our priorities and values. The ADSCN Committee meeting addressed the evolving needs of students and has given us a better understanding of strategies that we can put into place to support our young people. The emphasis on wellbeing and mental health will not only make the educational experience for our children more beneficial, but it will also teach them strategies to help them cope with challenges and succeed throughout their lives.”

“We are pleased with the outcome of this meeting as it has marked a pivotal step towards a brighter future. By reaffirming our shared dedication to the students’ general wellbeing and cooperating to build a support system, we can significantly impact the student community. Together, we can improve young people’s emotional and mental health and help them reach their full potential,” said Alison Haswell, Co-chair of the Abu Dhabi School Counsellor.

In 2022, Aspen Heights British School received the School Mental Health Award, established by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, part of Leeds Beckett University, and by social enterprise Minds Ahead. The silver standard certification was awarded to the school based on its outstanding approach to addressing its community’s mental health and wellbeing.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this meeting as it has marked a pivotal step towards a brighter future”

Aspen Heights British School, located in Al Bahya, Abu Dhabi, is a high-quality British International School with a focus on the community and environment.  The school offers the National Curriculum for England until Year 11, and because it is an IB candidate school, the IBDP for Year 12 and above.

The school provides a high level of pastoral care and a strong sense of community. Amazing learning is central to everything the school does. The individualised approach ensures that children make remarkable progress and achieve standards that will amaze them. Some of the learning environments within the school include: a hydroponics greenhouse, animals, bespoke playgrounds, ICT suite, astro pitch, 25m pool, multi-sports court and a dance studio.

Aspen Heights British School is part of International Schools Partnership, a global group of international schools.

For more information about the school