How to Run an I Matter Study Support Group

Imagine a world in which all adults appreciated the value and benefits of getting support with becoming a confident adult and/or parent, especially with the more challenging or complex child - and then could readily obtain that support in timely that children were supported by adults who understood...

With growing awareness of the long term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma we are all being invited to think about what we can do differently in the way we care for stressed children and adults.    

I Matter Framework Training has been carefully designed to support reflection and discussion in small and larger groups amongst professionals and parents

The course has been designed to meet the learning needs of participants with widely varying levels of experience.    We focus on helping adults become more confident about how to support improved relationship quality with children so that this can support their emerging skills.    This has to start with the adult feeling supported.

The ideas in I Matter Training are well-evidenced but often poorly understood.  What is distinctive about this training is the way that we have organised ideas to help participants think about their own experiences and about the needs of challenging children in home or work setting, including the steps that are likely needed in order to make a difference.   Our experience is that most people have several powerful light bulb moments as they go through this training when one key idea comes together with another one.  We love this process!

Supported Study Group 

Wherever possible we recommend that participants take part in supported learning so we are always on the look out for professionals and parents who could be interested in this facilitation role.   Ideal for this role include experienced individuals with a good range of life experience and with a good ability to connect to other professionals and parents from a wide range of walks of life.  

Member schools that have a Lead Professional are able to offer a supported study support group or can refer parents to the courses that we run for members.   Sometimes due to the sensitivities involved parents will actively need some distance from the school and this is where a wider network can be supportive.

A study supporter or Lead Professional or Parent Link or Parent Mentor is not expected to be an expert on everything I Matter.   However they will be familiar with the content and their role will be to ensure that the discussion takes place in a manner that is supportive and non-judgemental and helps everyone to take part.     

The names of study supporters who are licensed and approved by us can be found on the  I Matter Directory.  These will be experienced licensed professionals or approved parent links or mentors who we have got to know through their training process.   They should have an active license with us and should be taking part in our lead professional and community development events.     However you should always check their credentials out for yourself

For the purposes of programme fidelity and consistency with the online learning programme, Lead Professionals and Parent mentors are expected to stick to the curriculum and its order as set out in the Part 1 and Part 2 courses.  However there is some flexibilty about exactly how the course is delivered and faciliators can choose one of the following:

i) Sessions can be used to draw out and talk about key concepts with group members followied by looking at the posters

ii) Sessions can be used to watch one or more video clip(s) with discussion of a key idea

iii) Sessions can be used to  discuss a key idea that was watched prior to the session for homework

iv) Sessions can be used to discuss the week and draw out key I Matter ideas to understand challenges and direction of travel

Group Sesssion Frequency - a rolling group programme can usually be managed in one regular slot per week

Our core rolling programmes run with

+ an introduction session

+ a registration and recommendations stages

+ optional Getting Started workshop

+ 3 fortnightly study support sessions for Part 1 each half term with the expectation of online learning between sessions.

+ Option for: 3 fortnightly study support sessions for Part 2 each half term with the expectation of online learning between sessions

+ Option for: participation in Foundation B online Theory to Practice coaching

We recommend that professionals register for and complete the full Foundation A.  However parents will commonly benefit from a slower pace and may be registered for the Part 1 course first only.

We also generally recommend that the groups are kept small max 5-8 people and the session link around 75-90mins to include refreshments.   A Lead study supporter will commonly be covered under a salaried role and should be supported by a volunteer assistant eg a professional or parent link or parent mentor.

Preparation for the Group:   The reason we advise that this course should be led only by experienced trained practitioners is that there is a lot to think about to make sure this is a good experience for all concerned.    The time taken on the preparation and relationship building process prior to the group starting will be key to how the rest unfolds.   Careful thought about the composition of a group is also important.  Some individuals may need 1:1 or a slower pace.

The core purpose is to help the adult become more conscious of their own role and significance and the benefit to themselves and others of investing in their own ability to offer strong care.


Licence and directory listing

Event booking and registration links

A3 Paper and Red and Green Pens

A set of approved I Matter A3 Laminated Posters

Laptop and wifi access 

I Matter        Time calculations for Supported Foundation A

preparation            2hrs

supervision            2hrs

Intro session          2hrs

Registration           1hrs

Recommendations  1hrs

Getting Started       2hrs

Group time Part1    4.5hr

Group time Part2    4.5hr

Final review           2hrs

set up sessions      1.5hrs

debrief sessions     1.5hrs

24 hours

Small Group Study Support Group Structure 

Via Lead Professionals in licenced member schools and services:    Face to face learning

1.  Choose a venue that is comfortable and private where the group will not be disturbed

2.  Ensure a welcoming atmosphere - tea and coffee and biscuits!

3.  All group partcipants should be offered online course registration and formal recommendations prior to the main course and this can be funded through a range of means.

4.  Your group size should usually be no more than 6-8 people to ensure everyone can take part

5.  Ensure that group members are reminded about confidentality and about keeping safe

6.  Everyone has a chance to provide a rating and review of their week sharing something that went well  and something they would like to think about

7.  The group chooses a focus for the sessions discussion and discussion proceeds  with a focus on drawing out how everyday experiences illustrate key I Matter concepts

8.  To finish the group can share one key idea that they are taking away to think about or work on

9.    At the end of a supported study group you should provide feedback on your experience of study support with this professional

Webinar based sessions via approved member schools and services

As above - without the shared room but you can still have tea and coffee!


An I Matter Training Course should not replace other appropriate referrals to local services.  Please work within your own guidelines and read our policy carefully.   It is important for all parties to be aware of the fact that as parents-carers make adjustments for example towards more authoritative care, then there can sometimes be some escalations of challenges before things improve.  Therefore careful preparation can sometimes be needed and a supportive network for adult and for child is important.  

CPD Accreditation

If group members want CPD accreditation they must take part in a structured group set up for this purpse and run by an approved Lead professional.   Participants are expected make some brief notes about each of 6 sessions in the workbook and/or online record.!  

Costs and Charges for Study Support Groups

Our regular courses include a fee for the online learning account and a fee for the study support element.

Therefore approved Lead Professionals may purchase coupons that enable parents or professionals to access the courses at aa discounted fee.   We advise that the Lead Professional creates a costing for the course to include online course and study support as suitable in their setting and then invoices professionals or parents themselves as appropriate.  

When study support is offered by a Lead Professional in an employed role, then the study support element can be covered by the Lead Professionals employed role or via a freelance rate. Participants should be offered the option of an online registration and recommendations process and an online account.   We are still exploring options to help this run as smoothly as possible for all concerned and value your ideas. 

When study support is offered via freelancers working for us then we offer a standard rate based on participation numbers

When study support is offered in an independent role to ourselves or to member schools then we ask Lead Professionals to work within our fee guidelines.  Please contact us for details

Self Help Study Support Group

If parents or professionals are not able to access a supported learning experience but have a supportive partner or friend who would like to work through the self help course then this can be a positive way of starting to think and talk about some important issues

Please note: The content of this course is on the one hand quite straight forward but it also can be challenging.  Therefore, we do not recommend this course for self-help learning if partcipants or others are currently in a very escalated or stressed state.   

Please read our Terms and Conditions and Disclaimer very carefully.

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It's quite simple really - we offer resources and encourage people to take time to think and learn about what is happening around them..

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We carefully gather evidence of the impact of I Matter Training using a variety of formats and will be presenting more here very shortly.

Get Started: Learn why healthy adult-child relationships and healthy communities matter for mental health, positive behaviour and healthy child development at home and in school. Then.. Take Stock and Go for Results.


If I had understood these ideas earlier

I could have been a lot more effective

Family Support Worker



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