Patrick Hayes, chief development officer for THE, revealed the plans during a prestigious gala dinner as part of the BMI global international schools forum and workshop taking place in London.
Some 100 school counsellors had been flown in from around the world to take part.
The platform – entitled THE Counsellor – will launch later in 2023 and focus entirely on content made to support the career and university guidance profession within a school setting.
Private agents will not be invited to participate.
The content will be directly linked to THE counsellor accreditation programme and the international schools advisory board to ensure content is made by counsellors, for counsellors.
Hayes, speaking exclusively to The PIE News, said, “this will be a dedicated platform on Times Higher Education with the counsellors at its centre. It will be a space for them to come to the THE site and to share advice and guidance.
“We think that [school] counsellors have been overlooked for too long and we want to address that and we want to make them the superstars here.
“There are countries [around the world] where this profession are seen as rock stars and I feel like councillors should be put on that kind of pedestal and given a platform,” he explained.
The platform will be open access and encourage professionals working in the schools counselling sector to undertake the free training and become accredited entire online.
That training element is being delivered by learning partners Common Purpose, with the first cohort of THE accredited counsellors set to graduate this week.
The aim is to create an evolving, learning community amongst peers seeking professional development and contributing to the knowledge exchange. These user generated insights will be backed up by best practice content from partners like UCAS and Unifrog.
“They [the counselling network] will be writing the articles and advisory pieces for other counsellors,” continued Hayes.
“They’ll be sharing resources, lesson plans and tips and advice ranging from where to go for the best career options, to how best to manage parents, which is certainly one of the topics that counsellors repeatedly say is one of the things that keeps them awake at night,” he added.
Christina McDade, high school college counselling for Lincoln Community School in Ghana, is part of the BMI advisory board, IACAC and the international schools counselling association – she explained the need for the new platform and training.
“We think that [school] counsellors have been overlooked for too long”
“I feel like counsellors have been working in silos so it is great to come together and have really deep conversations about how do we best help our students.
“[However], you also want credibility for the work that you do, and it helps us advocate better for the resources that we need for our students and also continue our learning as well,” McDade told The PIE.
Chris Kirk, director of UCAS International, explained its role in the platform: “the role of a counsellor is pivotal in ensuring internationally mobile students and their parents can navigate the choice and complexity of options across the globe, as the market continues to grow each year, more and more new counsellors will be required.”
Kirk stressed its involvement will help keep the UK as a “primary destination of choice, and that new and existing counsellors have the confidence, tools and content to help students make informed decisions”.
UCAS and Unifrog together support a combined 2.3m undergraduate applicants each year, with the growing complexity of international school applicants selecting multiple university choices across multiple countries.
“As the market continues to grow more and more new counsellors will be required”
Over the last decade UCAS has identified a trend from international school applicants to the UK adhering to the same timeline as domestic applicants, as global teachers and counsellors become more informed about the process of applying to British universities.
A 2023 report from Contrive Datum Insights predicts significant growth in the global K-12 international schools market, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.8% up to 2029.
However, there is great disparity in the role of college counselling around the world, with some schools investing heavily in professional teams for career guidance while others continue to perform the role in addition to teaching or holistic support work.
Do you work in an international school? Do you feel like career and university guidance counselling is valued as a profession? Let us know your views by commenting below or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org