Roots of Empathy Co-ordinator - Re-advertisement

Claregalway, Co. Galway - with travel to Midlands, West & North West

General Information

What does the Roots of Empathy Project Do?

Roots of Empathy is an evidence-based programme that has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children by raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. At the heart of the programme is a baby and parent who visit the classroom every three weeks over the school year. A trained Roots of Empathy Instructor coaches students to observe the baby's development and to label the baby's feelings. In this experiential learning, the baby is the "Teacher", which the instructor uses to help children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others.The programme is universal, can be delivered in any class in the primary cycle and contains 9 themes, spread out over 27 class room visits, with the instructor meeting the class pre and post the family visit to prepare and reinforce lessons using a specialised plan for each visit.

Barnardos has been the Lead Agency, managing the delivery of Roots of Empathy in Ireland since 2011 and the programme is currently operating in over 150 classes in primary schools across the country

Where does this work take place?           

This role is to expand the Barnardos Roots of Empathy Programme across the Midlands, West and North West over the next few years and will support the work of the Roots of Empathy team at National Level.

How will the working hours be annualised?

In this role there are various peaks and troughs of demand, the co-ordinator will be required to work in excess of 32 hours per week at times and will have the benefit of reduced hours when schools are closed.

Who do we work with?

Barnardos staff locally, regionally and nationally. The Barnardos Roots of Empathy national office and the Roots of Empathy international office, Instructors, statutory, voluntary and community agencies, Principals, Class Teachers and other school personnel and Roots of Empathy families.



Job Description

Post: Roots of Empathy Co-ordinator
Location: Claregalway, Co. Galway - with travel to Midlands, West & North West
Responsible to: Roots of Empathy Project Leader
Works with: Barnardos management and personnel, school personnel, Roots of Empathy personnel and other agencies


Job Purpose

To ensure the co-ordination, delivery and development of the Roots of Empathy (ROE) programme across a number of school sites in the Midlands, West and North West of the country and participate in the overall development of the programme.

Barnardos is the lead agency for the Roots of Empathy Programme in the Republic of Ireland. Roots of Empathy is a universal evidence based classroom programme that has demonstrated positive effects in reducing levels of aggression among school children by raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. The ROE’s programme’s outcomes are to increase empathy, emotional development, knowledge, social understanding and pro social behaviours among peers whilst decreasing levels of aggression.

A baby and parent from the community come to the classroom regularly over the school year for a “classroom visit”. The baby is considered the “teacher”, but a trained ROE Instructor coaches children to observe the baby’s development and to label and understand the baby’s feelings. Through the baby, the children identify and reflect on their own feelings and the feelings of others through questions and prompting from the ROE Instructor. The ROE Instructor meets the class pre and post the family visit to prepare and reinforce lessons using a specialised plan for each visit

Core Job Requirements

Service delivery and management

  • Responsible for the delivery, management, development and review of Barnardos ROE programme in the Midlands, West and North West.
  • To be responsible for the recruitment and retention of Instructors to deliver ROE.
  • To identify suitable schools and support them to host the programme.
  • To manage an approved budget(s) for your area of responsibility in line with Barnardos financial procedures.
  • Ensure that the protection and welfare of children is a primary concern of all personnel involved in Roots of Empathy, and that, when child protection issues arise, Barnardos policies and procedures are fully adhered to.
  • To prepare reports on the work as required and to maintain effective working relationships with the Roots of Empathy organisation and funders as appropriate.
  • To ensure all case, financial and administrative records and files are maintained to a high standard.
  • To ensure the information for the Electronic Record Keeping System (ERK) is gathered and inputted within the required time scale.
  • To develop and facilitate a culture of Service Users consultation and involvement in all aspects of the work.
  • To support the work of the Roots of Empathy Team within Barnardos.

Requirements Specific to this Post

Co-ordinates annual start-up of Programme

  • Responsible for the recruitment, development and maintenance of collaborative partnerships with school principals and teachers at each host school including making information available about ROE to interested school representatives; principals, teachers and parent groups.
  • Assist the School Principals in finding families with young babies who are willing to participate in ROE and oversee the Instructor-classroom pairings.
  • Develop ongoing contacts with community partners and schools to identify potential schools for each new school year; including organising and chairing meetings as required.
  • Lead the recruitment of volunteer instructors for the delivery of ROE.
  • Liaise with ROE International Office, who are responsible for instructor applications, certification, professional development and quality assurance.
  • Supporting new and returning instructors to ensure all programmes start in the necessary time frame.
  • Preparation of programme projection figures each year


  • Responsible for the planning and co-ordination of ROE Instructor training including organising venues, co-ordinating logistics and ensuring that all required processes, paperwork, ordering of materials etc. are completed in the necessary timeframes. 
  • Attend training and support the ROE Trainer throughout the training period.

Programme Maintenance:

  • Maintaining regular contact with School Representatives, Instructors, Agencies providing instructors, and the ROE National/International Office. 
  • Support the organisation and delivery of Professional Development Workshops for certified ROE Instructors. 
  • Work with ROE National/International Office, and Barnardos Communications department, to promote public awareness of the ROE programme at community events and when dealing with electronic or print media. 
  • Prepare and present information sessions to community organisations , schools, representatives, teachers and principals, local networks and committees

Year End

  • Co-ordinate all year end activities, including planning and hosting Baby Celebration events and the distribution of Student, Family, Teacher and Principal Certificates.
  •  Ensures that feedback forms are distributed and forwarded to the ROE National/International Office.

Organisational Role

  • To gather, analyse data and prepare reports as required.
  • To participate in all relevant internal and external meetings.
  • To participate in budget planning and manage an approved budget for the service in line with Barnardos financial procedures.
  • To undertake your work in a manner that is friendly, flexible and informal.
  • To undertake specific regional / organisational tasks, and all other duties, as requested by the line manager.
  • To participate at regional management level and other appropriate groups to contribute to the development of strategies and policies relating to the ROE programme within the organisation.
  • To represent Barnardos ROE as appropriate at local / regional or national level, this may involve media and advocacy work.

Requirements of all Barnardos staff

  • Commitment to the purpose of Barnardos and to work within the values, policies and procedures of the organisation and in the context of current legislation and regulations.
  • To participate in regular supervision with your line manager.
  • To actively participate in team and staff meetings and service reviews/ evaluations and to contribute to the development of policy and practice with your area of work and within Barnardos as a whole.
  • To report any area of concern to your line manager in a timely manner.
  • To show reasonable flexibility in relation to hours of attendance to meet the needs of the work. Work during unsocial hours may be required. 
  • Have a flexible approach to the work in response to organisational change, development and review of best practice. 
  • Participate in and engage with a performance management programme.
  • Identify training needs with your line manager and participate in training opportunities appropriate to the role.
  • To be vigilant to any Health, Safety and Welfare risks in the workplace and bring any concerns to the attention of your line manager or local Health & Safety Officer. 
  • To be vigilant to any concerns regarding the protection and welfare of children and to bring them to the attention of the Barnardos Designated Person in a timely manner, in keeping with the Barnardos Child Protection policies. 
  • To participate in the efficient flow of information within the organisation by sharing and seeking information as appropriate.
  • To undertake other duties as may be requested by the line manager from time to time.
  • To undertake your work in a manner that is friendly, flexible and informal.   


  • Note: This Job Description will be reviewed and updated in line with the needs of the work.


Person Specification

Personal Attributes

  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to manage in a dynamic and busy environment.
  • Teamwork required and the ability to work in collaboration with others.
  • Ability to prioritise competing demand.
  • Ability to work autonomously but seek advice as appropriate.
  • Flexibility and adaptability in terms of tasks and time is essential for this post.
  • Ability to develop, manage and maintain internal and external relationships with a range of stakeholders.
  • Ability to manage the complexity and diversity within the service.
  • Ability to write clear reports as required.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Management role.
  • Proficient user of IT packages e.g. Work, Excel.
  • Ability to ensure that practice is child-centred and needs led.
  • A strong understanding and belief in the mission, goals and values of the Roots of Empathy and Barnardos organisations.



  • A minimum of three years post qualification experience of working with children or young people essential.
  • Experience of working in or delivering programmes in school settings essential.
  • Experience of a lead or supervisory role highly desirable and demonstrate competencies in terms of management ability essential.
  • Experience of working with disadvantage highly desirable


Relevant professional 3rd level qualification essential, for example: Bachelor of Education, Youth and Community Work, Psychology ,Social Work, Social Care, Child Care or equivalent

Leadership training highly desirable.

Full driving licence and access to the use of a suitably insured car essential.

Please Note:

The post holder is initially assigned to work in the Roots of Empathy service located in Claregalway. However, the post holder will be required to travel and occasionally work in other locations in the West and Midlands in line with organisational needs.



Application Procedure

Applicants must complete this application form and submit it through our website before the closing date.

Applicants may also attach a CV or other supplementary information in respect of our application.

Attaching a CV alone will result in the applicant not being considered for shortlisting.

Shortlisting will apply

Candidates who are moved to the 2nd stage of our Recruitment process are required to complete a medical questionnaire and the E-Vetting process. References will be taken up at this stage.

All documentation received by Barnardos in relation to job applications  will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003. The information will only be used by Barnardos  in the processing of job applications and for ongoing administrative purposes with job candidates. To make a request under the Data Protection Acts, please submit a request in writing to: Data Protection Executive, Barnardos  National Office, Christchurch Square, Dublin 8 or email