Every student should feel happy a secure in school and know that they are valued and respected as individuals.  A cornerstone of this is caring and supportive staff with excellent qualifications and experience who the students can trust and respect.  Notre Dame School is therefore delighted to announce the appointment of a student counsellor, Mrs Maria Sutherland, to enhance their pastoral care team.  This appointment is an integral part of the Notre Dame ethos which promotes resilience and wellbeing in all the girls using well established practices and initiatives.

Mrs Sutherland is an experienced psychotherapist specialising in young people and comes with a range of therapies to provide the girls with bespoke support.  She will not only be available to counsel girls on an individual basis but will also be looking at the mental health and well-being of the whole school, monitoring any emerging themes and undertaking workshops with the girls to highlight young people’s mental health issues and to encourage openness, honesty and a responsibility to care for their own and others’ mental wellbeing.

Anna King, Senior School Headmistress said:

“Our approach focuses on teaching the girls strategies for overcoming obstacles and fosters a ‘bounce-back’ attitude.  However, we understand that sometimes worry and anxiety relating to any number of issues, whether academic or emotional, can inhibit personal development.  At Notre Dame we want to ensure the girls are provided with the best possible advice, tools and techniques to overcome any problem and to feel valued and supported.”

Mrs Sutherland said:

I am delighted to join such a proactive pastoral care team.  As a team we will be working hard to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental health issues, particularly those associated with teenagers and young adults.  We want to empower the girls by giving them the skills to enable them to grow into resilient, confident and empathetic young women.”

According to the Mental Health Foundation, mental health issues affect 1 in 10 children and young adults and 70% of these children do not get appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.  Notre Dame believes that mental wellbeing is as important as physical health in enabling children to grow into well-rounded, healthy adults and is determined to provide this nurturing care for its students so they can be happy and successful in a kind and encouraging environment.

About Notre Dame School

Notre Dame School is an independent Catholic day school with 570 pupils aged from 2 to 18 years.  Set in 24 acres of beautiful parkland in Cobham, it is part of world-wide foundation established in Bordeaux in the 17th century by St Jeanne de Lestonnac.  The Company of Mary Our Lady is the oldest recognized educational order for girls in the world, having been founded over 400 years ago. More information can be found at