The Education Authority has announced the launch of the REACH (Resilience Education Assisting Change to Happen) Programme which will provide youth work support for the emotional health and wellbeing of pupils within schools across Northern Ireland. The REACH programme is provided as part of the Department of Education’s ‘Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework in Education’.

Through the delivery of workshops, group work and one-to-one support by professionally qualified youth workers, REACH is designed to support pupils to develop positive emotional health, increase their readiness for learning, and build their resilience. REACH is available to support all pupils in primary, post primary and special schools.

REACH will provide support for three key areas as part of the framework:

Wellbeing for All:

Wellbeing for all provides youth work programmes and workshops using a Whole School Approach which embeds the Universal Promotion of Wellbeing within your school. This aims to develop a caring and supportive culture throughout the whole school community promoting positive emotional health and wellbeing.

Early Support:

Early Support provides youth work programmes within your school on key issues affecting pupil’s emotional health and wellbeing. This is achieved through issue-based group work programmes on the themes identified by the school. Some examples of issue-based programmes which impact emotional health and wellbeing are; alcohol, substance misuse, grief or exam stress.

Enhanced Support:

Enhanced Support provides facilitated one to one support and/or focused small group work programmes with pupils who have more complex emotional health and wellbeing needs. This includes support to make referrals to specialist external agencies such as CAMHS.

Arlene Kee, Assistant Director for Children and Young People Services, Youth Service, said:

“The REACH programme will provide much needed support to pupils and the school community. Supporting and nurturing the Emotional Health and Wellbeing of our children and young people at all stages through their educational journey is critical to ensuring they can reach their full potential and remain resilient to life’s challenges, as they continue into adulthood.

“Using a Youth Work approach within schools offers a unique opportunity to not only work with teachers and parents of pupils but provides agency for children and young people to lead on improving their own emotional health and wellbeing and support their peers. We look forward to working in partnership with schools in the delivery of this programme.”

REACH is available to support all schools and pupils across primary, post primary and special schools. For more information and to access support for your school please visit eani.org.uk/reach

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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