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Trauma informed schools are effective schools!

    Trauma affects more than you think

    By the time they are 16, over 30% of children and young people will have been exposed to a potentially traumatic experience.  The pandemic will greatly increase this rate.

    Many are fine, with no lasting impacts.  But a large proportion of children and young people who have poor mental health, problems with behaviour, or who use alcohol or drugs, have experienced trauma.

    Trauma impacts attainment

    Less well known are the effects on learning.  Traumatic memories disrupt brain processes that underpin cognition – ranging from attention, to memory, to strategy selection.  This is in addition to emotional aspects such as confidence, motivation or self-esteem.

    This does not have to be so.  There is extensive research on how people can be helped to recover from traumatic experiences.  Not only can much of this help be offered by non-specialists already in a child’s life, but it is often most effective when done this way.

    Schools can help

    Again, there is evidence that quite simple approaches at both whole school and classroom level can mitigate against these effects.  Trauma-informed teaching not only helps recovery from trauma and builds resilience, but it raises attainment for all.

    None of this is really an add-on, an extra thing to do.  Trauma informed approaches to raising attainment are in many ways “just” good teaching, and “just” good school policies.

    Trauma informed in 3 easy steps!

    So – what are these?  What is different (or the same) about a trauma-informed approach?  How do we know if we are doing it, and what are the first steps to try?  When do children need therapeutic approaches and what should we ask for?

    The answer is that it is very complicated and also very simple.  I’ve broken down becoming trauma-informed as a school into three easy steps.  The steps are easy in theory and tricky in practice, so I’ve added the two difficult steps that need to be taken too.

    I’ll do some posts on this in the next while setting out more detail.  Meanwhile, please do comment below

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