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* In March 2003 a Scottish edition of Guidelines for Counselling in Schools was published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The booklet, which defines counselling and suggests best practice, has been welcomed as an invaluable tool for busy teachers.

* With a number of promoted guidance teachers removed in August under the post-McCrone deal, professional counsellors are expected to help fill the gap.

* Most education authorities provide help either through support staff or referral to psychological services. Individual schools, such as James Gillespie's in Edinburgh, may have a trained counsellor on their teaching staff but Aberdeen is the first authority to appoint a full-time counsellor attached to a school cluster.

* Early intervention is regarded as the key to success.

* For further information on counselling in schools, see the website for the BACP, or Counselling in Education,

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