Peter, a past Chair of the British Association of Social Functioning, is a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist. His career has encompassed counselling and psychotherapy in private practice, the state sector with the UK’s National Health Service and in schools both in the UK and overseas.
His extensive international practice over the last 20 years has helped teachers in the UK, Asia, the Middle East and Mexico transform their support for students. Peter has shown in the often transient world of international education that when teachers use active listening skills as form tutors and homeroom teachers, students quickly find the confidence to work out their own solutions to the social and emotional issues that face them. Peter also advises on effective school –wide counselling and pastoral care systems: he has no doubt that a properly coordinated approach has a significant and positive effect not only on student happiness, but also on academic achievement. A central proposition is that by training the majority of staff in the skills of empathetic active listening, comparatively minor issues can be addressed quickly before they escalate. This in turn relieves the caseload pressure on specialist counselling staff, who are then more able to focus on students facing more complex issues and who simply require more time.
Peter founded The School Counselling Trust in 1999, an organisation that later evolved into the Motivated Learning Trust, which aims to help teachers improve academic results by focusing on the social and emotional wellbeing of students. One outcome of this work has been the development of the Student Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ), a powerful analytical tool, which gives a snapshot of the emotional health of students and enables them, under the guidance of their teachers, to examine the most urgent issues affecting their motivation for learning. The SMQ can also pinpoint those students in any cohort most in need of support.
Peter works with business and the professions, helping organisations to develop the kind of listening skills that improve company performance by enhancing relationships with clients. He runs similar courses for school leadership teams.
Specialist consulting areas
- Listening skills for academic staff and school leaders
- Improvement of academic outcomes by addressing student social and emotional needs
- The development of enhanced academic tutoring
- Administering and training for administration of the Student Motivation Questionnaire
- ‘Institutional Listening’ – helping a school design the best package of support for students and staff
- Staff support and staff support systems
- Recruiting, training and supporting school counsellors