REACH Programme

REACH (Resilience Education Assisting Change to Happen) is a dedicated youth work programme which supports pupils, teachers and parents within schools across Northern Ireland to improve the emotional health and wellbeing outcomes for our children and young people.

REACH logo

The REACH programme is provided as part of the Department of Education’s ‘Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework in Education’. REACH is a dedicated youth work programme which will support schools across Northern Ireland to improve emotional health and wellbeing outcomes for pupils, whilst also providing support for their teachers and parents.

REACH is delivered within the school environment by a professionally qualified youth work team and provides programmes based on the needs of pupils and schools under the themes of; Wellbeing for All, Early Support and Enhanced Support.

Online Support Request Form

The Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework in Education – A Youth Work Response

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. The REACH youth work team will work with each school who requests support to design a programme to meet your needs. The Education Authority Youth Service provides support to schools under the three key areas of the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework in Education.

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.

Universal Promotion of Emotional Health and Wellbeing

The REACH Programme aims to provide whole school support for all pupils with a focus on preventing or reducing emotional health and wellbeing issues. To be effective in meeting the needs of pupils, the REACH programme also provides wrap around support with pupils’ teachers and parents. There are seven key elements to this:

  • Mental health check in - Capacity training to teachers to develop Resilient Schools. Providing and sharing training with teachers around mindfulness and positive peer cultures.
  • Taking Action - Curriculum programmes, age appropriate to enable pupils reach their potential based on the youth work curriculum. This can include delivery of outdoor learning programmes onsite at your school or off site at one of our specialist EA Outdoor Learning Centres.
  • Building Confidence - Individual work, providing one to one support for pupils, based on assessed need
  • Positive Peer Culture Groups - providing opportunities for pupils to gain confidence in their engagement and interaction with others; based on Egan’s Social Inclusion Model of Practice leading to greater peer support for emotional health and wellbeing
  • Support for parents - it’s good to talk; workshops and one to one sessions provided focusing on supporting parents to support their young person outside of school and rising awareness of emotional health and wellbeing issues for young people.
  • Summer Health Camps and Wellbeing Retreats - providing residential experiences for pupils to engage in healthy eating programmes; multi-activity outdoor learning programmes focused on mindfulness.
  • Youth Voice – facilitating young people’s voices within the school community to help co-design and co-deliver positive emotional health and wellbeing practices to support their needs.

REACH Outcomes for Pupils

Based on the Five Key Aspects of Social and Emotional Capability (Early Intervention Foundation 2015), the REACH programme for pupils will lead to improved Self-awareness, Motivation, Self-control, Social Connections and Resilience & Coping skills.

5 Key Areas visual

In addition to this, the youth work outcomes for these programmes include;

  • Improved health and wellbeing
  • Enhanced personal capabilities
  • Development of thinking skills, life skills and work skills
  • Improved relationships with others
  • Increased participative action

REACH App

App image

The REACH team are working with children and young people to develop a mobile App which provides resources and support links on Emotional Health and Wellbeing for Pupils, Parents and Schools. In addition, you will be able to request support from the REACH team via the App.

This App will be launched before the Summer of 2021. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to my school to access REACH Support?

No, REACH support is provided and funded jointly by the Department for Education and Department of Health’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework. It is available to all schools in Northern Ireland.

How Can I Access Support from the REACH Youth Work Team?

You can access support by completing the online support request form at the top of this page or get in touch for more information using the contact details below.

Does REACH provide this support on site at my School?

Yes, REACH is provided on site at your school. There is opportunity in agreement with schools to provide some of these services in our nearby youth centres if appropriate. REACH will also provide, if appropriate and in agreement with your school, out of school hours programmes and opportunities such as Residential (overnight) programmes at one of our Outdoor Learning Centres which can take place during the school week or weekends.

How will REACH provide support to Parents of Pupils?

REACH will provide based on assessed need, Wellbeing for All support for parents through events or talks on particular issues. In addition to this REACH will provide direct support to Parents of young people who are accessing Early or Enhanced support to ensure wrap around care is in place for pupils in and out of school.

How does ‘Youth Voice’ work within my school?

Each school is different, but the REACH Youth Work team will support existing structures such as a school’s youth council or support the establishment of a group of young people within school to explore how your school can develop emotional health and wellbeing within the school community.

How will REACH provide support to Teachers?

REACH will provide support for teachers through co-delivery and co-design of programmes to meet your pupil’s emotional health and wellbeing needs. In addition, REACH can provide capacity building for teachers to support their pupil’s emotional health and wellbeing in the classroom.

Can the REACH Programme be accessed during Covid-19 Restrictions?

Yes. REACH as part of the EA Youth Service delivers practice face to face in line with “New School Day” (DE Education Restart Guidance). We understand for schools at this time it is challenging to accommodate visitors. The REACH team will work with you to ensure we deliver support in your school in line with your operational practices, and as such tailor our programmes to meet this need. REACH can also, in agreement with your school, facilitate online group work or blended approaches to the delivery of programmes.

What are the Safeguarding Arrangements in place for the Delivery of the REACH Programme in my School?

All REACH staff are trained as Designated Child Protection Officers. Should an issues or disclosure happen within the delivery programmes onsite at your school, the REACH staff member will follow the procedures for your school. For any offsite activities which may be delivered, the REACH team will follow a dual reporting process, which will be both the school process and the Education Authority Youth Service process.

The Education Authority operates offsite activities in line with the Education Visits Policy, however as offsite activities are linked to your school, the REACH team will follow your schools Education Visits Practice. Additional governance support for Risk Assessments and planning will be provided to the REACH team from within the Education Authority Youth Service for any planned offsite activities as an additional safeguard.

What do the Programmes Look like that REACH can provide?

Depending on your school’s need, our skilled youth work team will work with you to design and build a programme which meets your needs. Each school is different in the way they operate and have a different range of needs. What is important to us is that the programme is effective in supporting your context. We have provided below some sample programmes we can deliver as a guide.

Where can I find out more information regarding the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework in Education?

The Department of Education has published the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Framework in Education including an easy read version for children and young people.

Who can I contact for information regarding the REACH Programme?

For more information regarding the REACH Programme you can contact us directly using the information below:

  • Email: reach@eani.org.uk 
  • Tel: 028 9598 5667
  • Programme Manager: Stephen Quigley (Youth Advisor – Specialist Outreach)
Last updated: 27/04/2021