Spotlight on Currie Primary School

29th October | Case Study |

SEL in Currie Primary School

Currie Primary is located in North Belfast in an area of high social deprivation. There are currently 182 children registered. The Northern Ireland statistics Agency rank the ‘Duncairn Ward’ as 8th in multiple deprivation. Children are presenting with high levels of emotional and special educational needs with 56% of children currently on the Special Needs Register. Free school meals are provided to just under 80% of children. Many of the families have experienced suicide and mental health issues which have impacted on the mental wellbeing of the families in attendance. The principal and senior leaders decided to implement the PATHS® Programme for Schools (UK Version) to provide a whole-school approach to addressing these issues surrounding the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils.

In 2017 they began their journey of support with Barnardo’s NI, and received high quality coaching and implementation support to enable them to reach the highest level of implementation. The below quotes show a snapshot of the journey they have been on, and you can read their full case-study here!

A Nurturing School

“As a ‘Nurturing school’ we are always striving to find new ways to support our children and their families. We had identified a number of years ago that the children were finding it difficult to self-regulate and express how they
were feeling despite numerous initiatives and curricular developments. The PATHS® Programme for Schools (NI Version) was identified as a way to provide children with the language and learning opportunities and help staff to achieve improved emotional knowledge awareness and understanding for all the children. Also, it was hoped that Currie PS children would have an increased tolerance and greater empathy for each other.” Ashleigh Galway Head Teacher

“The PATHS® Programme has enhanced our nurturing ethos and given the school community a common language and consistent approach to discussing and addressing emotional wellbeing. All Staff have benefited from the high
quality training, resources and support with the consistent use of language giving children safety of consistent practice.” Wendy Brown In School Coordinator

Emotional Awareness

“One particular child in my class found it very difficult to control his negative emotions and this often resulted in violence or verbal abuse against other children. We worked hard using the controls signals, really just to help him calm himself for a
start, so we could then work on finding a solution to his problem. After a few weeks he was able to implement these steps on most occasions.” Teacher

“Children are now aware of the processes they must follow to take control of their emotions and be able to recognize and name what they are feeling.” Teacher

“Pupils are more able to articulate their feelings in relation to each other and now show more control over their feelings and actions.” Teacher


“I have seen a change in the compliments the children give each other over the last couple of years. There used to be a lot of ‘I Like your shoes/clothes’ comments but now they compliment each other’s actions and characteristics.” Teacher

“Children are now more open to compliment other children or adults around the school, not just in the classroom.” Teacher


“I am doing better at being a good friend.” Pupil

“I know that other people have feelings even people who do bad things.” Pupil

“I know if someone is worried or having a bad day that they can talk to someone they trust...and that person can be me!” Pupil

Whole-School Ethos

“It is a programme that can be adapted in each class, which is perfect!” Teacher

“The most important part of PATHS® is the whole school support. It is a great help to see children and staff are all following the same ethos.” Teacher

“I have really enjoyed it when a member of the coaching support has come in. It has reassured me that I am doing things correctly.” Teacher

“Lunchtime Supervisors have been ‘catching’ pupils using their PATHS® rules in the playground. Prizes are awarded to children for playground behaviour within Achievement Assembly linking excellent behaviour in the
playground to the classroom.” ISC

Parent Engagement

“The PATHS® Programme has opened my eyes to how important learning life’s social rules are and preventing future problems.” Parent

“It is so important to teach our kids about talking about their feelings, when they don’t, this causes big issues.” Parent

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