Following the tragic events that unfolded in Manchester on Monday night, our thoughts are with the victims and their families many of whom are children and young people. These families along with all who were present at the Ariana Grande concert will face difficult times ahead. However, the whole community in Manchester has been rallying round to give support – hotels have opened their doors, families have offered places of refuge and taxis have given people free lifts home. Indeed, in spite of Monday night’s events, everybody will go about their normal business, mindful of what has happened but determined not to let it change their way of life. As Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said the city would “pull together”, adding: “That’s what we are. That’s what we do. They won’t win”.
Many educational psychologists and allied professionals throughout the greater Manchester area are actively engaged in supporting students, school staff, and families impacted by this event. As part of the ‘Pupils Emotional Health and Wellbeing (PEHAW) Programme’ a working group previously provided guidance for schools to develop plans for a regional approach to the management of critical incidents. The ‘Guide to Managing Critical Incidents in Schools’ was commissioned by the Department of Education to inform a regional approach to dealing with critical incidents and is designed to help schools be prepared for a critical incident and to ensure effective management before, during and after the event. All local authorities in the UK have Critical Incident Response Teams made up of educational psychologists and other professionals, with training in critical incident response.
In this spirit, planning for the ISPA conference is proceeding as normal and we are looking forward to welcoming you all. Indeed, the theme of the conference is Supporting Vulnerable Children and Young People in an Uncertain World, thus, we hope that our ISPA colleagues and friends from around the world will join us in Manchester further demonstrating our resolve to supporting children and young people. There are a number of pre-conference workshops led by international experts, the full conference programme itself will be published on the website in a few days and there is a varied social programme. If you have not already registered, you can do so up until July 1st.
Despite Monday night’s tragic events we are looking forward to seeing you all in our great city!
Peter Farrell, Chair of the Scientific Committee
Shane Jimerson, ISPA President