09 October, 2017 - Resilience & Wellbeing Teacher Training Programmes being rolled out to all DEIS schools - Minister Bruton

Training in Incredible Years’ Teacher Classroom Management Programme is now available to all teachers in all DEIS primary schools and in the Friends Programme for teachers in all DEIS primary and post-primary schools

The Minister for Education & Skills Mr. Richard Bruton T.D. today announced that, for the first time, all teachers in all DEIS schools will be able to access internationally renowned, evidence-based training programmes – the Incredible Years’ Teacher Classroom Management programme and the Friends programme. 

This announcement is part of the Minister’s broader focus on supporting student wellbeing in all schools as part of his ambition to make Ireland’s Education System the best in Europe within a decade.

Both programmes are supported by the Government’s Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).

  • The Incredible Years Teacher Programme is an evidence-based programme for teachers, partnering with parents, which reduces behavioural difficulties and strengthens social and emotional competence in primary school-age children. 

The Friends programme reduces anxiety and promotes coping and resilience in children and young people from 4-18 years and can be delivered by teachers, universally or to targeted smaller groups of pupils.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Bruton said “Ensuring the wellbeing and mental health of all students is a key priority of mine as Minister. Friends and Incredible Years are internationally renowned programmes which can help our children develop the emotional resilience and coping skills which are key for flourishing in modern society.  Commencing the rollout of these programme’s is an important action in this year’s 2017 Action Plan for Education, which sets out my ambition to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade.”

Teachers in all DEIS schools are being invited to apply for places on these programmes which are being delivered through the Education Centre Network. Over the next three years these it is planned that every teacher in primary and post-primary DEIS schools nationwide will have had an opportunity to attend this training.

To date training is these programmes has only been available to DEIS schools on a very limited basis. This announcement today, marks the significant additional investment of the Department in NEPS and the provision of substitution cover for teachers in DEIS schools attending training. This investment will, for the first time, ensure that all teachers in all DEIS schools will have access to these programmes over the next three years. 


Notes to Editors

There are currently 907 DEIS schools.

Roll out to date:

To date, the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management programme has been rolled out to 1,100 teachers in 150 DEIS primary schools, and to 3,400 teachers in 450 teachers in non-DEIS schools.  This has occurred over an 8-year period. 

To date, the Friends programmes, over a 5-year period have been rolled out to:

  • 690 teachers in 267 DEIS Primary Schools and to 2,479 teaches in 982 non-DEIS Primary schools
  • 200 teachers in 80 DEIS Post-primary schools and to 690 teaches in 283 non-DEIS Post-primary schools

What is the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS)?

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is the psychological service of the Department of Education and Skills.  NEPS psychologists support schools to promote the wellbeing and social/emotional competence of all students. 

More Information on the Friends Programme

 ‘Fun Friends’, ‘Friends for Life’ and ‘My Friends Youth’ are evidence-based anxiety prevention and resilience building programmes developed by Dr Paula Barrett in Australia. The programmes have an international evidence base and the Friends for Life programme has been cited by the WHO (2004) as a prevention programme for anxiety in children that is effective at all levels of intervention.

The 10 session Friends programmes which complement the SPHE curriculum, help students aged 4-16/17 years to develop resilience by teaching them effective strategies to cope with the normal everyday challenges they face and helping them to develop effective coping and problem solving skills to manage emotional distress, including worry, stress, change and anxiety. Skills learned throughout the programme help students both now and in later life. Professor Paul Cooper and Barbara Jacobs, University of Leicester, authors of the NCSE commissioned research Report No. 7, Evidence of Best Practice Models and Outcomes in the Education of Children with Emotional Disturbance/Behavioural Difficulties: An International Review, recommended the Friends Programmes as a cost effective intervention that could be delivered by teachers in schools.

In order to deliver the programmes teachers must attend an accredited training. NEPS psychologists deliver this training over 2 days. Following training, teachers can register as certified facilitators with Friends Resilience based in Brisbane. They may then order materials and access resources for running the programmes in their classrooms. 

More information on the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Programme (IYTCM)

The Incredible Years programmes, developed by Dr Carolyn Webster Stratton, is a series of programmes, for teachers and parents that are designed to reduce challenging behaviours in children and to increase their social, emotional and self-regulation skills. The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management Programme (IYTCM) focuses on strengthening teacher classroom management strategies and improving teacher-parent relationships. This leads to an increase in children’s social, emotional and academic competence and reduces classroom aggression and disruptive behaviour. Research, internationally and in Ireland, supports the effectiveness of the programme in significantly improving child behaviour, classroom environment and building teacher skill and confidence.

The programme follows a collaborative model of training that makes extensive use of teacher discussion, role play, viewing vignettes of teachers in real classrooms and developing behaviour plans for individual children. Between sessions, teachers are expected to practice the new skills and concepts in their own classrooms, reflect on and share experiences at the next session, further develop and implement their behaviour plans for individual children and complete assigned reading from the text ‘Incredible Teachers’. Throughout the programme, teachers are supported to set and monitor goals for themselves, as well as for the children they teach, and to help each other to achieve their goals. The topics covered across the six workshops are:

  • Building           Positive Relationships with Students
  • Preventing       Problems & being a Proactive Teacher
  • Using               Positive Attention, Encouragement & Praise
  • Motivating        Children through effective use of Incentives
  • Decreasing      Children’s Inappropriate behaviours
  • Increasing        Children’s Prosocial Skills and Building Social And Emotional Competence

NEPS has identified the IYTCM programme as a highly effective programme for developing teacher competence regarding building the social/emotional competence of children.  Research, both internationally and in Ireland supports the effectiveness of the programme in significantly improving child behaviour, classroom environment and teacher skills and confidence.