Trauma Informed Schools
Brightside Nursery Infant School is proud to be a Trauma Informed School!
What is a Trauma Informed School?
A trauma informed school is one that is able to support children who suffer with trauma or mental health problems and whose troubled behaviour acts as a barrier to learning. Brightside Nursery Infant School is a trauma informed school which provides all children with the skills to develop relationships, heal minds, brains and bodies. We also support key conversational skills in addressing and making sense of what has happened which is central to our work and is a major shift in whole school/organisation/community culture.
Why do we need Trauma Informed schools?
Rising numbers of children are presenting with mental health difficulties in schools and current teaching environments are struggling to keep up. Many children have a high ACE score (meaning multiple adverse childhood experiences) known to 'leave children at risk of mental and physical ill-health later in life and even early death' (The ACE study Felitti and Anda, a study involving over 17,000 people). With the cuts in CAMHS and with over 1 million children in the UK with a mental health problem, schools are often left with a major responsibility. Children spend 190 days a year at school so we believe that schools are very well placed to pick up the baton and help these children.
Trauma Informed Schools UK offer training to schools to empower and enable key staff to be able to respond effectively to mild to moderate mental health problems. The government Green Paper 'Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision' (December 2017) wants a Mental Health Lead in every school (trained member of school staff). Their research found that appropriately trained staff in school can achieve results comparable to those of trained therapists. To quote, "There is evidence that appropriately-trained and supported staff such as teachers, school nurses, counsellors, and teaching assistants can achieve results comparable to those achieved by trained therapists in delivering a number of interventions addressing mild to moderate mental health problems" (such as anxiety, conduct disorder, substance use disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder).
How does the Team at Brightside support?
Mrs Danielle Jenkins-Omar is our qualified Trauma Informed Practitioner as well as the schools Designated Safeguarding Lead.
*We implement strategies using P and the R's- Protect, Relate, Regulate and Reflect.
*We have a nurturing approach and an open door policy so all children and families feel they are able to speak to staff if they need support
*We do a variety of interventions with children such as sand play, the use of emotion cards and big empathy drawings to help children relate and reflect on their emotions
*Our staff Meet and Greet children and their families every day which promotes psychological safety
*All staff at Brightside, from teaching staff to lunchtime supervisors, implement trauma informed strategies to best support children
*There is a calm area in each classroom and a sensory room to support children to regulate
*Each class has their own Affirmation jar with positive quotes and messages for the children to say and read. They are encouraged to say these individually and together as a class.
*In PHSE & RSE sessions pupils fill in 'I wish my teacher knew' notes for teachers to read
*PACE (playfulness, acceptance and curiosity) is promoted
*WINE statements (wonder, imagine, notice and empathy) are used with children to help "catch and match" emotions for regulation and reflection
*All staff are 'Emotionally Available Adults' to the pupils and other staff members
*All staff use affect attunement and give acknowledgment to all children and families
We also have termly meetings with CAMHs education practitioners who help to support school with promoting 'Healthy Minds'. We have staff trained on 'Heathy Minds' including a Senior Mental Health lead, who works with our 'Healthy Mind Champions' in school to become more self aware as well as peer mentors within school.