Liverpool primary granted £41,000 to scale up transformational project

A primary School in Liverpool has been awarded a £41,000 grant by charity SHINE.

After the success of the pilot of ‘Building Emotional Resilience in Early Years’, SHINE awarded Whitefield Primary School the grant to scale up the programme.

SHINE’s funding will enable the training of teachers at other schools who are keen to adopt the approach.

The project is aimed at enhancing children’s emotional well-being while also providing support to parents and caregivers. It gives children and their families the skills they need to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and confidence.

The goal is to create a supportive environment where children feel empowered to understand and regulate their emotions, setting the stage for success both inside and outside the classroom.

Project lead Marie Beale said the initial project has had a ‘huge impact’ on both children and parents.

Marie said: “As a society, we talk a lot more about emotions than we once did.

“We’re much more aware of how we manage our emotions and the impact of our well-being and our emotions on our productivity and our lives.

“But for children, if you don’t get that right, you can do as much teaching and learning as you like; the children can’t learn. They’ve got to feel safe and calm to be able to access their learning.”

The SHINE project involves early years children being taught how to understand and communicate what they are feeling.

They learn about the ‘zones of regulation’ – a set of colours that help children self-identify how they’re feeling and categorise it.

Marie explained: “At Whitefield, we’re a school with significant additional needs, and we have some children who’ve had adverse childhood experiences. And they could easily disengage from learning. 

“But this gives them a mechanism to build relationships and to feel safe before they then start to learn.

“It shifts the balance so that children have more chance of success.”

Through workshops, parents are shown the techniques and the vocabulary so they can also be used in the home. Marie said the impact of the pilot project on families has been considerable.

She added: “We’ve had parents who have taken our training and as a whole family are picking up the strategies that we’ve taught them. 

“We’ve had grandparents who’ve attended our workshops and who have begun using the language of regulation much more and found that transformational for them.

“Not only does that decrease stress in the family home, which is so important, particularly for those post-COVID babies but also those children are more successful at school because they’re better supported in the partnership between school and home.

“And as a spin-off, we see our relationships with those parents are much stronger right the way through school.”

Marie said there had been a lot of interest in taking part in the expanded project, with seven schools signed up already.

The SHINE funding will extend the reach of the programme across Liverpool and beyond. 

Staff from Whitefield will work closely with schools, providing training, resources, and ongoing support to ensure successful implementation.

Given the level of interest, Whitefield is offering two versions of the training – a face-to-face model for schools in the Merseyside area, and a remote model, where people receive the training online.

Helen Rafferty, interim CEO of SHINE, said: “The support that children need to thrive goes so far beyond the academic: children who feel safe and are supported with their emotions are able to succeed at school and far beyond. 

“We also know that partnerships and learning between schools and parents and carers is so critical to giving parents the very best start in life.

“We have been pleased and proud to support the brilliant work by the team at Whitefield so far and are excited to see this work taken into other schools, to support so many more children to have the best education experience that they can.”

Any schools interested in taking part in the project should contact Marie Beale at

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