Student Support

The students at HeadStart are all unique and have very different ways of learning and engaging in school life. At times this can lead to challenges for students and their families. The Student Support team, led by Michael Atkins, are on hand to provide academic, emotional and social support to all members of the school community; ensuring that students receive the appropriate level of guidance and care required to achieve their full academic potential and become confident, resilient young people.

Learning Support

Learning Support collaborates closely with students, parents, specialists, identified outside agencies, teachers and the school Leadership Team to ensure that students with Additional Educational Needs (AEN) are identified, assessed and supported in an appropriate and timely manner. The Learning Support Coordinator provides advice and guidance to teachers on differentiation and resources, and offers practical teaching and assessment support.

Additional Educational Needs (AEN)

HeadStart International School classifies students as having Additional Educational Needs (AEN) if they have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age. They may have a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD) or Disability that acts as a barrier to their learning, or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age. Students with AEN may present difficulties in some or all of the following areas:

  • Social interaction
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Academic attainment
  • Communication skills
  • Physical disabilities or impairments

If any student experiences barriers to their learning, the Learning Support Coordinator follows procedures outlined in the UK Code of Practice to agree upon (with parents and teachers) an Individualised Education Plan (IEP). An IEP contains specific targets and strategies that will support the student both inside and outside of the classroom. IEPs are reviewed regularly and parents are updated on progress through either informal conversations with teachers, or scheduled review meetings. On the rare occasion that we feel we are unable to provide the resources to meet the needs of a child, either during the admission process or after enrolment, the school will support families in the identification of an alternative provision for their child.

Specialist Support

We are very lucky at HeadStart to have the services of a Clinical Psychologist, Dr Debora Previti, available on site. Dr Previti collaborates closely with the Learning Support Coordinator and offers consultation services for students and families. Please note that Dr Previti is a private clinician and fees are charged for her services. If other specialist assessment/intervention is recommended, for example from a Speech and Language Therapist (SALT), the Learning Support Coordinator will provide families with a list of other practitioners available on the island or further afield.


HeadStart’s school counsellors aim to provide a broad range of services to the school community for the guidance and support they need to lead healthy, fulfilling, productive and responsible lives. Our dedicated and professional counsellors are based in the Student Support Office on the second floor next to the Primary Hall and provide a safe and welcoming environment for students and parents.

Our counselling service contributes to the development of a comprehensive student support and wellbeing program that is responsive to the needs of our school community. The support offered includes providing advice and counselling on educational, behavioural, vocational, personal, social, family, and mental health and other wellbeing issues.

Common issues that are attended to in counselling include:

  • School: organisation, goal setting, time management, study schedules, focus, absences
  • Personal: self esteem, unmanageable stress and anxiety, relationship/friendship issues, low mood, sleep/health concerns, crisis, grief.
  • Building resilience: strength coaching, mindfulness, growth mindset.

We offer an environment of understanding, support, encouragement and challenge as we assist students to achieve their educational, personal and vocational goals. Our counselling services are available to all members of the school community, especially at risk students, students with additional needs and their families.

Our counsellors work closely with the Deputy Heads of Foundation, Primary and Secondary, the Learning Support Coordinator, the Head of Sixth Form, the Child Protection Officers and Homeroom teachers to ensure that all students have the opportunity to access the support they require to feel comfortable and happy at school.


For all Learning Support enquiries please contact Mr Michael Atkins by writing to [email protected]

For all Counselling enquiries please contact Ms Hayley Milner by writing to [email protected]

Square 40e165a0 7d57 4116 8533 3ce4908383a8

Michael Atkins

Learning Support Coordinator
[email protected]

My name is Michael and I was appointed as Learning Support Coordinator (LSC) at HeadStart International School in August 2017. I grew up in Crewe in the north of England where I studied Popular Music and Community Arts at MMU Cheshire. I later lived, and studied in the wonderful city of Manchester for almost seven years. Whilst living there I qualified as a Secondary Music Teacher, visited the hallowed turf of Old Trafford many times and honed my skills as a bass guitarist. Being a musician in one of the music capitals of the world was a remarkable experience, and at times incredibly challenging. I developed a strong work ethic, creativity, and a great sense of resilience which I carry with me to this day. I have been teaching and coordinating the education of young people with Additional Educational Needs (AEN) for the past five years. For the three years prior to that I worked in several high achieving primary and secondary schools teaching music and facilitating community arts projects. I am confident that my knowledge of all sectors as well as my innovative approach to teaching and learning will support all students at HeadStart to flourish and fulfil their full potential. I believe that when one person teaches two people learn and I have learnt as much from my students as they have learnt from me. I am humbled everyday by their enthusiasm and knowledge, and being part of their educational journey is a great privilege. As I enter my third year at HeadStart I am excited about the expansion of my department which I have worked hard to develop during my time here. I will continue to build and maintain strong relationships with all members of the HeadStart community, and strive each day to support the school in its vision for the future.

Square 7b9576e8 908b 4934 9c1e 38e57ecbfc92

Hayley Milner

School Counsellor & Drama Coordinator
[email protected]

My name is Hayley and I am working at HeadStart as the School Counsellor and Drama coordinator. This is my eleventh year teaching, which has allowed me to have strong interactions with the diverse student body, developing a strong social and cross-cultural sensitiveness and an ability to effectively communicate with individuals from various minority groups and cultures. I have a Master’s in Education in School Guidance Counselling and worked in an Australian school as a school Guidance Officer and Counsellor. I believe it is integral for students to have someone that will build trust to establish confidentiality to act as their advocate. Outside of supporting students and their well-being, my passion since I was young was in drama and the performing arts. My passion in the dramatic field has taught me the power of drama as a tool to achieve growth and change and to think about others perspectives on situations. In Australia, I studied a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Theatre. I then completed my PGCE in Secondary English and Drama. I enjoy writing plays and directing as well as acting as a dramaturg. Within the classroom, I aim to provide each child with a safe and supportive environment where they can feel comfortable to be themselves and develop social independence and collaboration. I encourage building resilience, courage and curiosity in learning whilst engaging students in a sympathetic, genuine and understanding manner.

Square 8849488e c39a 49f8 bfb9 7c29eb2a4cc2

Debora Previti

Clinical Psychologist
[email protected]

My name is Debora Previti and I come from Italy. I am a licensed Clinical Psychologist and I joined the HeadStart Community in 2015. I took my Bachelor’s degree in the 2000 at the prestigious University of Padua. After my internship I passed the examination accredited by the Italian Psychological Society and the Health Professions Council in 2002. I then started working as a researcher at the Department of Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Hepatology and Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Bologna. Being a researcher gave me the opportunity to deepen both my studies and interests. Whilst at university I fell in love with the neurosciences. The neurosciences study the relationship between the physical brain and behaviour. The brain is of course, extremely complex and I am very interested in studying disorders within the brain and nervous system that can alter behaviour and cognitive function. As a psychologist I am extensively trained in the assessment and diagnosis of psychological disorders. For several years I have been carrying out evaluation activities of the cognitive component (basic skills, superior and executive functions), behavioural and affective-relational aspects in order to create and implement psychoeducational and rehabilitative interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders, language disorders, ADHD, specific learning disorders and intellectual disabilities. I decided to work with children because they are a source of pure energy and I enjoy interacting with them, contributing to their well-being and identifying the specific causes of their difficulties. This remunerates me from the constant study that a complex discipline such as neuroscience requires. I moved to Phuket five years ago and have been collaborating with HeadStart ever since; sharing far-sightedness and care in the education of children. This collaboration is working well and I am very happy to say that the school contributed to the acquisition of the most accredited clinical resources for a timely and effective diagnosis. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with education professionals, parents and children in the future.

‘In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order’.
Square 10996e95 090c 4f69 92c9 164efa6f1417

Danielle De Jesus

Primary Shadow Teacher
[email protected]

My name is Danielle, but you can call me Denise. I’m from Manila, Philippines and I am beyond excited as I start my first year as a Shadow Teacher in Year 4 White at Headstart. In college, I studied for Bachelor of Elementary Education major in Special Education at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. After four rigorous years, I graduated and decided to work in a school with an inclusion setup. In my first year, I was assigned to Kindergarten and then to Year 2 for another two years. It was a challenging yet fulfilling role but it was always a joy to see each child grow. After that, I decided to make a big step and tried different schools all over the world. Fortunately, Headstart was there to help me grow professionally and expose me to different kinds of learning experiences. No words can describe how enthusiastic I am to start my journey here in a school full of a love of learning. My belief will always be every child has his or her own potential. As a teacher, I want to let them bring out their true selves and establish the mindset that everything is possible. I want them to have dreams and go reach for them because they can.

Square f930649a 5032 4dd6 b28d 9b48569b209d

Stephanie Costa

School Counsellor
[email protected]

My name is Stephanie and I will be working alongside Hayley Milner for this academic year as I complete my masters in counselling. Throughout the course of my life, nothing has given me more joy than being helpful to others. Long before I became a child protection social worker, I found motivation in helping others in whatever ways I could. I worked with refugees applying for asylum, in development work in Africa, with prisoners supporting them before release, for the probation service with high risk offenders, as Pastoral Leader at an International School in Bangkok and I advocated for people with mental health issues. These experiences taught me the value of listening, of being compassionate and non-judgemental and have led me to develop my skills in family support and child therapy. In my spare time, I like to cook, walk my dog on the beach, read a good book and travel.

Default 4dc4830b b6a9 4398 8a43 b2827ce58132Default 41ab60f4 e984 4545 901a 84bb959c87a6Default e5e0accd cdfa 4fe4 8b7b 7bd7189fa5b3Default c1e478c2 232a 4edc 9f6f b9e14670fd34Default 4fc2d169 731f 4e38 882b 7e5c0ac7b8e0Default 95a1e377 f695 43ae 9a9c 9b54158dfc6eDefault f064f010 782f 45c2 8c22 61b4bb0cdf5bDefault 7e78c1fb 20cf 48b6 972e cdfa61abe4faDefault cda37e10 5767 4c87 9748 95d7b2bedbe9