Minister at Fane Street Primary School

Minister launches Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) training to support children and young people

The Minster of Education, Michelle McIlveen MLA, has launched an online training programme which focuses on raising awareness of trauma and its potential impacts on children.  The online training resource for schools on Trauma Informed Practice was launched at Fane Street Primary School.

Fane Street Primary School is one of a small group of schools that took part in a pilot scheme. It is one of the most diverse controlled schools in Northern Ireland.  88% of the school’s pupils speak English as an additional language and 43 languages are spoken throughout the school.  The school is sensitive to the cultural needs of its school community, 16.4% of whom are refugees/asylum seekers, and takes a trauma informed approach to ensuring that all pupils are educated in an environment in which they feel safe and secure.   

In September 2019 the school achieved School of Sanctuary status, recognition of the school’s efforts to ensure that its environment is a welcoming space for pupils and their families and that cultural awareness is developed across the curriculum. 

Principal Hilary Cunningham showed the Minister the school's Learning Support classroom, Sensory room and Nurture classroom which meet the learning, social and emotional needs of all pupils and also support the language acquisition of newcomer pupils.

Welcoming the development of the training, the Minister said ‘I want to ensure that we provide the best support we can to children and young people, highlighting how adverse childhood experiences can come in many forms and may result in a multitude of impacts which can make positive engagement with education a huge challenge for some children'.

Tracey Woods and Heather McKenzie, CSSC Schools’ Support Officers, are members of the Fane Street Advisory Group which was established as part of a pilot developmental programme to support the school to further develop as a Trauma Responsive School.

Pictured: Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen MLA, Fane Street Primary School Principal Hilary Cunningham, Helen McKenzie from Safeguarding Board NI, Tracey Woods, Controlled Schools’ Support Council and Nicola Topping, Education Authority who are represented on Fane Street’s Advisory Group.  Membership also includes representation from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Educational Psychology and the EA’s VPRS Scheme.

Find out more about Trauma Informed Practice Online Training Programme

The training provides an opportunity for the entire education sector workforce of approximately 60,000 staff members to improve their understanding of trauma. This includes over 20,000 teachers and approximately 40,000 support staff working in schools and the Education Authority.

Using a Quality Assurance Framework the school is supported to consider what further support is required to allow the school to continue to improve outcomes for children.  To date the pilot programme has led to increased multi-agency working, enhanced training opportunities for staff which has included Theraplay training, coaching opportunities and ethos development sessions for staff and governors. 

Level one training will be made available to all education sector staff by the Education Authority and can be accessed here:

Level two training will also be made available to School Leaders and Pastoral care staff to further enhance and support awareness of trauma.


Photo caption 1 Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen with Fane Street Primary School pupils and Chris Chimes, Nurture Co-ordinator 

Photo caption 2 Education Minister, Michelle McIlveen with Fane Street Primary School pupils


24 November 2021