National University of Ireland, Maynooth

National University of Ireland, Maynooth
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Press Releases: 2011




Training provided at an average cost per child of €100 


A large scale Irish study - commissioned by Archways and led by NUI Maynooth - involving 11 schools, 217 children and 22 teachers, has proven, for the first time in a European context, the effectiveness and value for money of an innovative teacher classroom management programme in Irish schools. The study, ‘Positive classrooms, Positive Children’, was launched today at the Department of Education by NUI Maynooth President, Professor Tom Collins.

The study was carried out in 2009/2010 among Junior and Senior Infant classrooms in the Limerick area. It found that teachers who had taken part in the TCM programme (the intervention group) and their classes, derived considerable benefits   when compared to those who had not yet received the training (waiting list control group).  The study showed that:

  • Conduct and behavioural problems among pupils in the intervention (training) group showed a decreasing trend when compared to the control group.
  • There was a significant decrease in emotional symptoms among the intervention group children.
  • Teachers who had taken part in the training used significantly fewer negative class management strategies, such as warnings/threats or shouting and were more inclined to use positive classroom management techniques such as praise and incentives.
  • The programme was most beneficial for those children most ‘at risk’ who showed significant post-training improvements in overall behavioural difficulties, peer problems and general distress and social impairment. 

Dr Sinéad McGilloway, Principal Investigator of the Incredible Years Ireland Study and Director of the Mental Health and Social Research Unit at NUI Maynooth, said that the monetary value of the TCM programme to Irish education was exceptional at an average training cost of approximately €100 per child.

“Irish classrooms have a seen a steady increase in behavioural issues in recent years.  Without adequate intervention at the earliest possible stage, these can lead to academic failure, early school leaving and a cycle of anti-social behaviour that can continue through to adolescence and adulthood.  The teachers in this study reported that TCM training had led to an improvement in classroom atmosphere, a reduction in disruptive behaviour in the classroom and they felt empowered to better manage their classes at a critical point in the education system”, said Dr McGilloway.

Launching the report, NUI Maynooth President Tom Collins said that the earliest years of a child’s education were critical in shaping their future academic and life achievements and problems identified at an early stage were resolved much easier.  “Primary school is where many children get to first have their academic abilities identified and nurtured.  For other children, school may be the only structure in their lives, and if they appear to be disruptive and unruly, the correct interventions can make a huge difference to their lives. This study strongly suggests that by introducing TCM training for teachers across the board, we can give both pupils and teachers the best possible chance in our educational system”.

The Incredible Years Parent, Teacher and Child training Series, which has been used in numerous countries, was first developed over 30 years ago by Professor Carolyn Webster-Stratton, Director of the Parenting Clinic at the University of Washington. In Ireland, the programme is managed through Archways (, which commissioned the Incredible Years Ireland Study with financial support from the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Aileen O’Donoghue, CEO of Archways, said: “This research shows that the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management is a highly effective programme for teachers in Irish classrooms. There is an increasing need for programmes that provide support to teachers to deal with social, emotional and behavioural problems in the classroom. Hundreds of teachers have already accessed TCM training through Archways and we hope that more get the support they need through the provision of proven and cost effective programmes like Incredible Years.

The study was led by Dr.McGilloway with colleagues from NUI Maynooth, Church of Ireland College of Education, Bangor University, Wales, Trinity College, Dublin, and Queen’s University, Belfast.

Ends                                                                                                       1st March 2011

 Further information from:

NUI Maynooth    Deirdre Watters                                                                                  +353 1 708 3363
Dr Sinead McGilloway

Dr Sinead McGilloway.

Last edited: Wednesday, 02-Mar-2011 14:34:18 GMT