Since Autumn 2019 and funded by ANBC, CRIS has been working with schools in the Newtownabbey area to develop a supportive locality-based network, focused on strengthening relationships and on positive reconciliation and education outcomes. Currently, this involves work with children and young people, school staff teams and other local partners, and will hopefully go on to involve governors, parents/families and others. The welcome to involvement is open to all schools in the Newtownabbey area.
CRIS’s GRACE Model is being used as the framework for the development of this partnership work.
Key themes emerging from conversations about the potential for network development have included:
• An appreciation of the strengthening relationships, support, shared learning and sharing of resources/materials between schools, and from CRIS;
• While all schools can contribute to the network’s development and priorities within the reconciliation/education focus, a recognition of the benefits of having CRIS staff take on a co-ordinating role;
• The opportunity to do things together which might not be possible individually – shared training/development opportunities; access to other funding possibilities; etc.
The network development to date has involved:
• A series of ‘Listening Exercises’ with 10+ school principals and/or other members of the school’s Senior Leadership Team, to develop an understanding of school needs and interests, and of how CRIS can work most effectively with individual schools and with the network as a whole;
• ‘Growing GRACE’ seminar (12/03/2020) for school representatives to build/strengthen relationships and to explore and nurture pathways for collaboration;
• GRACE Showcase Event (28/01/2021) for schools which might be interested in joining the network;
• A series of four seminars (April 2021) with Stan Godek, focusing on brain development, stress and stress reduction/mindfulness;
• Continued support of Shared Education initiatives by CRIS through the provision of pupil programmes.
Through the Listening Exercises and different school staff events, various potential areas for work together were identified. We would be grateful if you could complete the below questionnaire, so that we can prioritise actions for the next steps in developing the network together. The questionnaire will take no longer than 10 minutes to complete, and is a key opportunity for you to feed back on priority areas of support for your school.