17 Aug 2022

Derry school awarded Worldwide Model School accolade

Continued efforts of Steelstown Primary School to focus on children’s wellbeing throughout the recent lockdowns recognised

Derry school awarded Worldwide Model School Award accolade

P1 pupils Holly and Abel picking up the award from Martina Luiten, programme co-ordinator, Barnardo’s. Included are principal Siobhan Gillen and teacher/school co-ordinator Neidin McIntyre.

Pupils and staff at Steelstown Primary School in Derry added another niche to their bow in celebrating their 50th anniversary by being awarded the SEL Worldwide Model School accolade for successfully integrating the  PATHS Programme for Schools (UK and NI Version) within everyday school life.

The local school has used the programme for the past four years to support children from a young age to understand and manage their feelings, navigate difficult situations and prioritise their wellbeing.

The award was achieved as a result of a lot of hard work from pupils and staff with the school adopting a whole school approach to the  PATHS Programme  which extends from the classroom to the playground.

The award also recognises the continued efforts of the school to focus on children’s wellbeing throughout the recent lockdowns.

Delivery of the  PATHS  Programme  is supported by a specialist coach from Barnardo’s with planned activities with pupils designed to help children’s development in learning to regulate their emotions, boost self-esteem, increase their emotional awareness and teach them problem-solving skills, including within relationships and friendships, improving the mental health of primary school pupils.

Staff and pupils at the school received their award from Martina Luiten (programme co-ordinator) who has worked closely with the school over the past four years.

Mairead Ewart, UK programme manager at Barnardo’s, com- menting on the award, said: “We are delighted to present the SEL Worldwide Model School award to the whole-school community at Steelstown Primary School, in recognition of their dedication and enthusiasm to social emotional learning and the  PATHS Programme for Schools (UK and NI Version).

“The management team and staff have shown such commitment in prioritising children’s social and emotional learning within their classrooms each and every day, and they are really seeing the results from doing this.

“This programme is all about early intervention and prevention and supporting children at the earliest point to stop more serious problems arising.

“Some of the benefits seen for children at Steelstown, include increased concentration in class and improved behaviour, with children better able to regulate their emotions.

A big thank you from the boys and girls of P1 at Steelstown Primary School.

“All of this contributes to a more positive learning environment for children, as well as benefitting school staff and parents.”

Martina Luiten, programme co-ordinator, Barnardo’s, praising the staff dedication and commitment to the programme, said: ”I am very pleased to have supported Steelstown Primary School with their fantastic work in social emotional learning.

She added: “Staff have shown dedication and commitment to developing a whole school ethos with children’s emotional well-being at the centre.


“It’s wonderful to see the confidence and ownership of the programme which staff have demonstrated. I proudly congratulate everyone on this special occasion.”

Neidín McIntyre, in-school co-ordinator at Steelstown, said she was happy for the school in getting the award and described it as a great asset to the Steelstown school community, adding: “We are so delighted to have been presented with our PATHS Model School Award.

“The PATHS Programme is an invaluable toolkit and has been a fantastic asset to our school community.

Primary 1 children showing off their new-found skills. (Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography)

“We are so proud of the staff, children and parents for their continuous work to implement and promote PATHS throughout the school, and at home.

“A special mention to Martina Luiten for the training, guidance and support over the years.”

She concluded: “A huge well done to our Primary One children for treating us to a wonderful PATHS Assembly which included lots of important messages on feelings and friendship.”

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