The Western Area Outcomes Group Strengthening Support for Families Returning to School and Learning


In March 2021 the Western Area Outcomes Group ran a very timely training session to assist practitioners when supporting families return to education. The WAOG recognised that the COVID 19 pandemic has been a unique situation experienced by both the family and practitioner.  

Nearly seventy practitioners from a range of disciplines, including the Community and Voluntary Sector; EANI and WHSCT listened to Christine Davies, Trauma Informed Schools UK. Christine explained to the audience that lockdown and school closures must be considered as a traumatic experience. Christine eloquently described this as “The Same Storm……Different Boats” – everyone has experienced this, but maybe in different ways in relation to their situation, in different measures and at different times. These experiences may have included;

  • Sudden, unwanted change over which they have no control
  • Experience of loss
    • Friends
    • Significant relationships with adults
    • Routine, structure, order, safety
    • Freedom to act
    • The ability to mark milestones
    • Bereavement
  • Isolation
  • Fear
  • Uncertainty
  • Dysregulated adults
  • Poverty
  • Increased risk of domestic abuse

Christine offered participants both the underpinning theory and practical application to enable them to better understand the impact of the crisis and move forward to find a new normal. This included;

  • Re-experiencing the world as safe
  • Acknowledging losses
  • The science and practice of gratitude
  • Supporting transition back to school
  • Re-affirming connection and belonging
  • Understanding the impact of the pandemicon behaviour
  • Incorporating learning into practice –finding a new normal

Priscilla Magee Fermanagh and Omagh Locality Planning Officer