Schools need trauma support

Trauma web

A survey by Barnardo's has revealed education workers feel they need greater training in helping children deal with trauma

14th August 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Schools need support to help children who have suffered traumatic experiences, charity research has found.

Barnardo’s Scotland has carried out a survey which shows almost four fifths of adults working in primary or secondary schools in Scotland (79%) believe more should be done to ensure that schools are able to recognise and respond to early trauma and childhood adversity.

The figures also reveal that 73% of those surveyed said more needs to be done to ensure schools understand how trauma and childhood adversity can impact on a child’s mental health and wellbeing.

The charity has said behaviours associated with early trauma can often manifest themselves in a school environment and are too often misconstrued as bad behaviour requiring discipline rather than support.  Barnardo’s wants to see trauma-informed approaches central to all work with children and young people, not just reserved for specialist or targeted services.

The online survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Barnardo’s Scotland and launched today, 14 August, adds to the call made by the charity earlier in the year for a trauma-informed children’s workforce. 

The charity’s Laura Falconer said: “It is crucial that schools create an environment where all staff know how to support and respond to children affected by early trauma; where children are taught to develop the skills they need to understand and cope with their experience, and where staff feel confident linking in with additional support if needed.

“Teaching children from an early age about emotional awareness, how to self-regulate, and the skills to support resilience are essential parts of preventing future problems with their mental health and wellbeing.”

As children and teachers across Scotland return to schools to start a new term the results suggest supporting children who have experienced early trauma is an area that requires more resourcing in schools, with over half of teachers surveyed (54%) responding that they had not received any training about the impact of early trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in their current role. 

The polling also found that of those who had received training about the impact of early trauma and ACEs training, 87% said it had been beneficial.

Dan Johnson, clinical director at Kibble Education and Care Centre, said: “This polling is an encouraging and clear reminder that looking after children who have had harmful experiences requires all those around the child, not just psychologists or therapists. If we want to do that well it is essential to understand how their experiences affect them.”