Smart Moves Explained

Previous slide
Next slide

We are delighted to announce that our Smart Moves Programme is now available in Irish for primary schools!

Smart Moves is a suite of evidence-based short sessions, led by teachers to give young people small, learnable skills (“Smart Moves”)  that increase resilience.

The programme aims to support the emotional resilience of children as they prepare to transition from primary  to  secondary school. The Smart Moves programme also has a secondary school programme which supports young people as they begin their journey in secondary school or as they transition into their new secondary school. 

Smart Moves can be completed by both 5th and 6th class students as well as first year students and is available to schools within the Republic of Ireland. 

From our work in communities across Ireland, a number of schools have highlighted the desire to have further supports for their students as they make the journey to secondary school. 

Benefits of Smart Moves

  • Independently evaluated 
  • Evidence informed and supported by best practice and research around emotional resilience 

  • Free for schools 

  • Lesson plans, online videos & ongoing support from the ISPCC for teachers 

  • Teachers/parents/carers will have access to our experienced Community engagement team for specific concerns or queries about a young person transitioning into secondary school 
The transition from primary to secondary school can be an exciting time, but it can also be a time of high stress. Best practice tells us that students need to be supported, not just before the transition, but during and after too. We also note that parents/carers often need guidance at these crucial stages. The ISPCC aims to offer support to all young people who are preparing for secondary school with our Smart Moves 5th/6th class programme or those who are beginning that journey with our Smart Moves secondary school programme. We also aim to increase parent/carer knowledge in how they can support their young person at this crucial life stage. The long-term vision for the ISPCC is that all 6th class and 1st year students and parents/carers in Ireland will engage with and benefit from the programme, leading to more successful transitions into secondary school."
Niamh Clarke
Childline Community Engagement Manager

Smart Moves Registration Form

Thank you for your interest in the Smart Moves Programme.  To register for the next academic year (’24/’25) please complete the registration form below.

School aged guidance and advice for parent’s/carer

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Smart Moves is a universal programme, ideally run with whole classes. It is also a great starting point to a whole school approach to resilience.
  • According to the National Study of Youth Mental Health in Ireland 72% of young people identified ‘school’ as the main stressor in their lives and a particularly stressful aspect of school for young people can be the transition from primary school to secondary school.
  • Previous research has indicated that this transition is often associated with a decline in pupil psychological wellbeing, including increased symptoms of depression and weakened self-esteem It has also been highlighted as a time related with a loss in pupil engagement, and a decline in academic motivation.
  • Further, young people are also worried about friendships and peer relations during this transition, with bullying being a major concern for schools.  
  • ‘Smart Moves’ is an evidence-based transition program created in the UK to help students with the move from Primary to Secondary
    school. It is a program of short sessions designed to give young people making the transition between primary and secondary schools the skills to increase their overall resilience.  
  • The program helps to address some of the common anxieties’ pupils have when making the school transition.  The program is started in 5th or 6th Class and is carried forward into 1st Year and 2nd
  • Smart Moves is derived from the evidence based ‘Resilience Framework’, developed by Hart and Blincow (2007), devised as a way of working with young people to build their resilience.
  • Research on Smart Moves is still in its infancy in the UK, but so far has shown the program to have a positive impact on pupils’ resilience.  
  • The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s (ISPCC) front-line workers are focused on building resilience and increasing coping capacity in young people.  The ISPCC has identified a gap in the supports being offered to young people making the transition from primary to secondary school and so is going to launch the ‘Smart Moves’ transition program in the Republic of Ireland.  
  • In line with the suggestions from previous research Smart Moves in the Republic of Ireland aims to include parents/ carers as part of the transition program.
  • ‘Smart Moves’ launched in primary schools across Ireland in September 2021. September 2022 saw the introduction of the  ‘Smart Moves’ secondary school programme and September 2023 saw the introduction of the ‘Smart Moves’ primary Irish edition. The secondary school programme is a follow on programme designed to support students as they navigate their way through their first year of secondary school. secondary schools can register their interest at any stage by emailing [email protected].
  • Smart Moves is primarily aimed at children and young people in 5th/6th class in primary school, and 1st year and 2nd year in secondary school. In Ireland these classes on average contain children and young people aged between 11 years of age to 13 years of age.
  • When a school registers to take part in the ‘Smart Moves’ Programme, they receive a resource pack from ISPCC supported by Avolon, Carne Group and Unique Schools.
  • This Resource Pack contains Student Diary’s/Journals, Teachers Guide Books, Staff Room Poster and two other posters from the ‘Smart Rooms’ programme.
  • Teachers will have access to Teacher Information Videos, a link to give to parents/caregivers to access an information video on the ‘Smart Moves’ Programme, and a video to show students in their class, briefly outlining the ‘Smart Moves’ programme.
  • Parents/Caregivers are asked to watch an informational video about the ‘Smart Moves’ programme which will inform them about what their children will be receiving from the lessons.
  • They will be offered some tips and skills to help encourage and support their children such as checking in ‘What ‘Smart Moves’ did they learn this week or being available to help support their child with the transition from primary school to secondary school.
  • This might look like, showing them where their secondary school will be and mapping out the journey with them. It might involve finding out what extra circular activities the school provides, so they know they can continue with their favourite sport/hobby. It might also look like chatting openly and in an age-appropriate way about things you liked about secondary school.
  • Parents/Caregivers will be asked to fill out a short feedback from after watching the informational video about the ‘Smart Moves’ programme on the ISPCC website.

The ‘Smart Moves’ Programme consists of 15 – 30-minute lessons that can be completed over the school term.

  • ‘Smart Moves’ has been shown to be more effective when it is delivered by a trusted adult that students feel comfortable with or already have a relationship with. Therefore, class teachers are asked to carry out the lesson plans.
  • We encourage you to never sacrifice time spent on discussion, conversation, or questions during sessions as this will be the time most valuable to students. If you can, you can always pick up activities on another day. You will find that some lessons will go shorter than others and vice versa depending on the needs and concerns of your class.
  • Resilience is the ability to reset or bounce back from adversity and not break. It is flexible and can adapt to situations when adversities come into our lives and offers us options or skills to fall back on.
  • If a fisher man was going out to sea, he would be checking the forecast so that he has an idea of what the weather will look like. But as always, we cannot predict the weather all the time so what he wants to do is prepare so that if he is out at sea and the weather gets bad, he has options.
  • So, he is making sure he has a life vest, a radio that he can contact the coast guard with, and a lifeboat. There are options that if he hits a storm out a sea, he has the tools to help him get back safely.
  • Resilience is like this. We can have these skills and options should we encounter storms in our lives. Resilience is not something you are either born with or you are not. It is something we all have the power to grow and develop.
  • The three main areas of Resilience that we focus on in the ISPCC is I am, I have, and I can.
  • I have – is based on who do you have in your life, who can you trust, or have fun with. Who do I have in my life? For young people it does not just have to be parents, it can be someone else in the family, friends, or a teacher. It is someone you can trust and talk to. ‘I have’ looks at young people’s support system. Who do we have around us when we are feeling scared and need help?
  • I am – a second area of Resilience, this looks at a person’s internal strengths. This could be self-esteem, what goodness they feel about themselves and/or what they offer the world. ‘I am’ encourages our self-esteem to be built.
  • I can – Start looking at what is good about yourself, what other people have said, what you remember or what you feel proud of. Flip ‘I can’t’ in to ‘I can’, or ‘I can try again’. I can – Looks at what a person can do for themselves – looking at your skills what you can do in the moment – Sense of control – what have we done in the past, what worked for us.
  • Please read the suggested reading and visiting for information.
  • ‘Smart Moves’ is supported by Avolon, Carne Group and Unique Schools
  • ‘Smart Moves’ is free for schools to enrol in and implement.
  • ‘2023/2024 academic year has seen over 650 schools across Ireland taking part.  To secure a place for the 2024/2025 academic year please register here

Testimonials from Teachers