Every Child Flourishing: Bunbury A Trauma Informed School
The global pandemic has meant every child in school has experienced some form of disruption and trauma. Transitioning back to school has not been straightforward. One in six children aged five to sixteen was identified as having a probable mental disorder – five children in a class of thirty students. This was an increase from one in nine children in 2017 according to NHS digital. If our children are going to flourish we must recognise the place that mental health, trauma and attachment play in their development.
Schools have a vital role to play in the lives of children so we must ensure that the whole school is trauma informed, attachment aware and mental health diligent. This will help every child to thrive but will especially help vulnerable children. During the academic year 2021/2022 Bunbury Aldersey CE Primary will be involved with 200 schools nationally through seminar events bringing together experts in Children's Mental Health, school leadership, and child welfare leaders. We will also be working with the Church of England's Foundation for Educational Leadership's yearlong network group which will help schools go on a transformative journey of change to become a trauma and attachment aware school.
‘Every Child Flourishing’; a school focus around trauma and attachment.
The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership (CEFEL), believes that ‘leaders in education are called to pursue social justice and wellbeing of all, showing love for the disadvantaged, marginalised and vulnerable’. Indeed, church schools were set up originally for this very purpose! Over the last year, the impact of trauma on our children and young people has been highlighted as never before – bringing into focus the critical need for schools to be informed about the sorts of trauma that create barriers both to accessing learning and to wider flourishing in life. For some children, trauma has resulted from their earliest childhood experiences, for others it may be a one-off traumatic incident; we also know that for a large number of children, the challenges of COVID19 have heavily impacted upon their wellbeing, both through isolation and/or bereavement. We have a vision to see church schools leading the way in:
· demonstrating wisdom by upskilling staff with the evidence-informed knowledge to support these children as best they can
· building communities that collaborate to ensure flourishing for all – particularly the most vulnerable
· seeing the innate dignity in each and every child thus putting their needs first
· becoming beacons of hope so that ‘bad experiences need not have the last word’
Drawing on expertise (both from academics and practitioners) from across the field of trauma-informed practice, and CEFEL’s track record of leadership development across its 4,700 schools, Bunbury are proud to be part of this new year-long network.
This programme draws upon direct teaching from experts: Professor Eamon McCrory (UCL/ Anna Freud), Rebecca Brooks (Adoption UK), Louise Bomber (Touchbase), Kiran Gill (The Difference), David Trickey (UK Trauma Council) and Deborah Barnett (TLG).
Alongside the expert-led sessions will be network support for practical application – putting the knowledge into practice.
• What to do when trauma gets in bodies, minds and brains
• We teach a wealth of emotionally regulating interventions to calm bodies and brains for learning, reflection and quality of life
• The healing power of talking about feelings and making sense of painful life experience
• Helping children to change what they feel and believe about themselves; editing the story they have told themselves about their lives
Changing a ‘wonky narrative’
• Each time you have that important interaction/reflective conversation with a child or teenager you are literally wiring up the prefrontal cortex developing top- down inhibitory pathways that calm the lower brain and primitive impulses of flight and fight.
What Does it Mean to be a Trauma And Mental Health Informed school
• Being a Trauma Informed School isn't a bolt-on, an intervention or something that a few do.
• It's a culture. It's our approach. It's everyone. From gate supervisor and teacher to lunchtime staff, we've embraced this approach and have equipped staff with the tools to enable them to respond to every child's needs.
A Whole School Approach has PRRR at it’s heart – at a cultural and individual level
An environment rich in psychological safety, lessening the stress load for all
Ways to interact that promote social engagement, connection and belonging
Explicit teaching and modelling of co-regulation
• Developing top-down inhibitory pathways, reflecting on painful events to make sense, develop coherent narrative and more effective ways to manage