Support for your child or young person

Find out about the support available for your child or young person.

Pupil Support

Support for pupils is provided in a number of settings within Exceptional Teaching Arrangements.

Individual Teaching (Community-based ETA)

Individual teaching, often referred to as Community-based ETA, can take place in any of three locations:

  • Individual Teaching at Home: Individual teaching at home will only be provided when it is deemed absolutely necessary.
  • Individual Teaching in the Community: This will usually be situated in EA premises, but community facilities may also be utilised. It is usually the first step in a phased return to school.
  • Individual Teaching in the Registered School: This will require the co-operation of the school. It is a very important step in the reintegration process and requires careful planning.

Community based ETA supports pupils educationally in the core subject areas of English and Mathematics and with an empathetic and supportive response  to the pupil’s  physical, social and emotional needs.

Cluster Groups

The Service can offer cluster groups consisting of 2/3 pupils. The express aim of these cluster groups is to assist the pupils to overcome the social, emotional and behavioural barriers that are preventing them from accessing learning while at the same time addressing their educational needs. These groups are situated in EA facilities.

Hospital Based Support

The Service is responsible for the management of two educational settings which support those children who are in-patients in hospital. In all these regional provisions, the pupils remain on the roll of their registered school. Belfast Hospital School provides support on ward.

  • Belfast Hospital School
    Belfast Hospital School provides education in the Belfast area for children aged under 18 who are admitted to Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children for periods of 20 days or more. 

Specialist Group Provision

The Service currently operates three group provisions for Key Stage 4 pupils with profound mental health difficulties and Belfast Hospital School operates a fourth provision. Due to the necessity of a thorough mental health risk assessment, access to these provisions is only through referrals from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). This is specifically tailored to the needs of pupils and places an emphasis on educational attainment alongside a strong pastoral programme. 

Pupils are referred by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service’s (CAMHS) who because of their mental health cannot attend school. 

It must be emphasised that referrals can only be accepted from the relevant Health and Social Care Trust due to the need to maintain and constantly update the FACE risk assessment.

Full time provision is based in the following locations:

  • Education Intensive Therapy (EDIT), Derry/Londonderry
    EDIT provision is for pupils who are under the care of Western Health and Social Care Trust CAMHS Team only.
  • Time Out for Positive Steps (TOPS1), Belfast
    TOPS1 provision is for pupils under the care of Belfast Health and Social Care Trust CAMHS Team only and is provided by Belfast Hospital School.
  • Time Out for Positive Steps (TOPS 2), Beechcroft Education Unit, Belfast 
    TOPS2 supports pupils in South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust CAMHS Team. 
  • Newtownabbey Educational Guidance Centre (NEGC), Newtownabbey
    NEGC supports young people in Newtownabbey area, referrals are presently via ETA Referral Panel.

Regional Mental Health Units

  • Beechcroft Education Unit, Belfast 
    This is a teaching unit for children under 18 and who are inpatients at the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service’s (CAMHS) Step 5 regional unit for assessment and intervention.

    Young people are timetabled to attend classes in conjunction with their Occupational Therapy group service.  This allows children to keep up with their schoolwork and sit any relevant exams. 
  • Iveagh Centre, Belfast 
    Iveagh is a specialist purpose-built unit in Belfast which provides acute, short-term, multidisciplinary inpatient assessment and treatment for children and young people aged between 12 and 17 who have a learning disability, additional mental health difficulties, and who may display associated complex patterns of behaviour. 

    The centre is a Tier 4 specialist inpatient assessment and treatment services for children and young people across Northern Ireland.

Parent/Carer Consultation

Parents or carers of children and young people that are being supported by the Service are consulted on their views during the period of a child or young person’s involvement.

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Contact the Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service

The Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service can be contacted for advice and information specific to children and young people who are unable to attend their educational setting because of physical illness or mental health.