Guidance for Schools To Support The Wellbeing Of School Communities
The Department’s Wellbeing Office has updated the Guidance for Schools on supporting the wellbeing of school communities as schools reopen. Click here to view the full document.
The Gaeilge versions of both of these documents are being finalised and will be available shortly.
A shorter document outlining a summary of the resources that are being made available to support wellbeing at this time can be read here:
Supporting the Wellbeing of School Communities as Schools Reopen: Resources September 2020
Supporting the wellbeing of school communities at this time of transition is helped by fostering resilience using five key principles:
Promoting a sense of safety – so that people feel that they are safe, and that those around them are safe
Promoting a sense of calm – so that people feel relaxed, composed and grounded (regulated)
Promoting a sense of belonging and connectedness – so that people experience having meaningful relationships with others who understand and support them
Promoting a sense of self-efficacy and community-efficacy – so that people believe that they can manage and do what is needed, and so can their school community
Promoting a sense of hopefulness – so that people believe that things will work out well
Supporting a successful transition back to what will be our new normal is best achieved when those within the school community feel safe, calm and hopeful, when they feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to their school community and feel that they can manage with the support of their community.
The foundation for the provision of a continuum of support in schools is the provision of support for school staff wellbeing, and guidance to help school staff to feel confident and equipped to support the wellbeing of their students. The Department has worked closely with its broad range of support services and agencies1, and with the HSE/HSE-funded services and the Tusla Education Support Service to create an aligned and coherent package of supports and resources to assist schools in this regard. Supports include:
Short video clips to communicate with students and parents about the return to school with key universal messages. can be found at
The Department’s Support Services/Agencies include the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT), Centre for School Leadership (CSL), National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT), National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Support Service, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE) and National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS).
Additional guidance for schools, to supplement the Wellbeing Toolkits, Supporting the Wellbeing of Students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) Returning to School
Advice and resources for parents, student and school staff to support their wellbeing as they return and settle into school
Support services will work with schools over the coming academic year in phases as follows:
Phase 1: School reopening to Hallowe’en
Phase 2: Hallowe’en to end of December 2020
Phase 3: January 2021 to end of academic year
Directories and catalogues of online supports to outline available wellbeing CPD and provision for primary, special and post-primary schools and parents during Phase 1 have been developed. This information, which is available here and will be updated on an ongoing basis, includes:
Directory of Wellbeing CPD and Support for Schools in Returning and Settling into School for Primary/Special and Post Primary schools
Directory of Online Support for Schools in Returning and Settling into School for Primary/Special and Post Primary schools
Directory of Wellbeing Supports & Online Resources for Parents on Returning and Settling into School for Primary/special and Post Primary schools
There are also links to support for school staff wellbeing provided by:
Spectrum Life, the new dedicated employee assistance provider for school staff has developed a range of accessible supports. These include access to a Wellbeing Content Hub, an Employee Assistance Programme and Mental Health Supports and Digital Wellbeing Events.
Professional Development Service for Teachers
HSE’s Health Promotion Team
HSE/HSE-funded service providers - e-mental health services, including free on-line counselling.
In addition, enhanced services for wellbeing will be provided by NEPS, to include the wellbeing of all of our special school communities. An additional 17 NEPS psychologists are being appointed. In Phase 1 NEPS will be providing a service to all schools with a focus on wellbeing. NEPS psychologists will connect with each school, listen to their needs and engage in initial planning with schools on how best to respond. Furthermore, for our post-primary schools, approximately 120 posts are being provided for guidance to support student wellbeing recognising the particular importance for this support in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic challenges.
Finally, our partners in the HSE and in HSE-funded services such as Spunout, Jigsaw, MyMind, Childline and Turn2Me, are providing access to e-mental health services, including on-line counselling, if needed. Details of the services being provided are available.