Trauma Informed School

What is trauma?

  • Trauma can be described as a distressing experience, or pattern of experiences, that threatens a person’s actual or perceived sense of felt safety and overwhelms their ability to regulate their emotions. Traumatic experiences can evoke feelings of fear, helplessness or self control.
  • When a child or young person lives with trauma their biology changes. They are more aware of danger but become hypersensitive to perceived dangers. The slightest threat, or perceived threat, in their environment can elicit a defensive response – it overwhelms, and it negatively impacts upon their ability to regulate their emotions, concentrate and achieve in a school setting.
  • Traumatic experiences may include: life threatening disasters, a pandemic (COVID19), severe accidents, abuse and neglect, loss / separation from a loved one, bullying or living in chronically chaotic environments, where there may be a lack of daily routine such as regular bed, meal wake up times and attendance below 95% to school.

The impact of trauma

  • Trauma and adverse experiences in childhood (ACEs) can significantly impact upon a child / young person’s brain and physical development and wider functioning and have longer term effects on their overall health and wellbeing. Children and families who have experienced early trauma and adversity may find it difficult to feel safe and to trust others and schools.
  • In school this results in dis-regulation of emotions, such as a dip in concentration levels, a change in social group, increase in school consequences, challenging uniform policy or defiance to instructions from staff in school. 

Trauma Informed Practice in school 

  • Trauma Informed Practice recognises the importance of trauma and the effect it can have on children and families, staff and supporting adults. A trauma informed response fully integrates knowledge about trauma into policies, to help young adults heal and to build the Stockland Green PRIDE Values.
  • Key principles of the trauma informed approach are safety, trust, choice, collaboration, equity and empowerment.  At Stockland Green School we are working towards all students:  
  1. Feeling safe (physically and emotionally)
  2. Being able to regulate / self-regulate (emotional / sensory needs) 
  3. Being connected (positive and attuned relationships)
  4. Being ready to learn (skill building and resilience).

This may take weeks, months or years of support. 

Trauma Informed Practice at Stockland Green School

1. Safety:  To ensure children and families feel safe, emotionally and physically.

  • Clear and high expectations where students can show the Stockland Green PRIDE values.
  • Identified ‘Safe Base’ for children to access as needed.
  • Students identify a ‘Trusted Adult’ to access as needed
  • Language of safety is used with children/young people.
  • All communication where appropriate happens through a ‘trauma informed approach’ – it is compassionate and curious: holding in mind ‘What happened to you?’; noticing and wondering language; no ‘naming and shaming’.

2. Trust and Relationships:  To help children and families be connected; developing positive relationships with a trusted adult.

  • Apply the 5 PRIDE values across the whole school.
  • ‘Relationships matter’ – every interaction with someone is supporting students to grow with PRIDE.
  • Identified Trusted Adult/s – who are responsive to the needs of the child/young person.
  • Restorative conversations/approaches which focus upon repairing relationships.

3. Emotional Regulation: Developing emotional regulation, key skills for learning and building PRIDE.

  • Emotion Coaching scripts used by Key Adults to support regulation.
  • Appropriately trained adults, eg. Mental Health Lead, DSL, House and Pastoral Team.