Award winning controlled school, Fane Steet Primary School and wellbeing champions

The importance of meeting the needs of children and young people within controlled schools is critical, forming part of a whole school ethos.

The launch of the findings of an organisational review of the implementation of Trauma Informed Approaches in Northern Ireland took place recently on 22 February and contains crucial research commissioned by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland and carried out by Queen’s University Belfast.

Fane Street Primary School

Trauma-informed approaches (TIA) is a comprehensive, whole system approach that is grounded in the understanding that trauma exposure can impact an individual's neurological, biological, psychological and social development.

This research considered the barriers and enablers to trauma informed approaches across a range of public services including Education.

Tracey Woods, Schools' Support Officer who represented CSSC on the SBNI Task and Finish Research Group and along with CSSC colleagues delivers the SBNI’s Level 2 Developing Trauma Sensitive Approaches to Practice commented:

“Trauma informed approaches are relational approaches that support the whole school community and are not new to our schools. They can be seen in the support put in place for a child with SEN, a child who has experienced a bereavement. They are approaches which characterise daily interactions between staff and pupils and communicate safety, trust and belonging – supporting the right conditions for learning and creating a culture which supports everyone.”

Representing the experience of the education sector in implementing these approaches was Hilary Cunningham, Principal of Fane Street Primary School who emphasised the importance of schools meeting children’s social and emotional needs in order to create the right conditions for learning. Fane Street Primary School, a controlled school and a School of Sanctuary is one of the most diverse schools in Northern Ireland, sensitive to the cultural needs of its school community. The school was recently awarded the Silver Award for Attachment and Trauma Sensitive Schools from the Jenny Nock foundation.

The school has funded a whole school nurture approach and is very aware that the support put in place for the child is enhanced by also including the children’s families. The school hosts parent classes, delivers the Incredible Years Programme and is very clear of the positive impact of effective pastoral support for each and every child. Trauma informed approaches support the school in creating an environment which supports the child’s emotional regulation and which supports positive behaviour. Staff have been trained to deliver various programmes which include Theraplay, Lego Play as well as Drawing and Talking interventions.   

Hilary Cunningham, Principal, Fane Street Primary School said,

We believe that our children can only be educated if they feel that they matter to us and we do our utmost to ensure that their needs are met. Since the rollout of trauma informed practices in our school, the progress of a significant number of our pupils - and their families – has been nothing short of astounding.”

Controlled schools are #OpenToAll, welcoming children and young people of all faiths and none, richly diverse and inclusive, reflective of and embedded in the communities they serve.



13 March 2024