Trauma-informed practice in schools: An explainer
This report was originally published 28 January 2020.
This explainer briefly summarises the evidence on trauma-informed practice within an educational context. It is intended as a brief introduction to the topic for teachers, principals and other school staff. It provides information on six key questions:
- What is trauma?
- How prevalent is developmental trauma among children in NSW?
- How can teachers and school staff recognise behaviours related to trauma?
- What is trauma-informed practice?
- What strategies can schools and teachers use to support students impacted by trauma?
- How can schools care for staff who are supporting students impacted by trauma?
Some links to further reading are provided within the text for readers wanting a more advanced understanding of developmental trauma and trauma-informed practice within an educational context.
Purpose of resource
The Trauma-informed practice in schools: An explainer resource briefly summarises the evidence on trauma-informed practice within an educational context.
When and how to use
The resource is review of research evidence and is accompanied by a Trauma-informed practice discussion guide. School leaders and teachers can read, reflect on, discuss and implement themes and strategies highlighted in the resource as part of school-developed High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL).
The appropriate time to use this resource may differ for each school, leader and teacher.
School leaders can:
- unpack the resource, using the accompanying discussion guide, as part of whole-school professional development and/or stage or grade team meetings
- encourage teachers to share key findings during professional development
- reflect on strategies, policies or practices currently in place to support students impacted by trauma, as well as staff who are supporting these students
- lead discussions with staff about areas to improve across the school – you may wish to refer to the Achieving School Excellence in Wellbeing and Inclusion tool
- email Trauma-Informed Practice at TIP@det.nsw.edu.au to schedule the Trauma-informed Practice for Improved Learning and Wellbeing professional learning for their school.
- read the resource and reflect on policies and strategies currently in place at their school or in their classroom that support a trauma-informed practice approach
- unpack the resource, using the accompanying discussion guide, in a group setting
- refer to the additional reading provided in the resource to further develop their understanding of developmental trauma and trauma-informed practice within an educational context
- identify strategies to apply in the classroom to support students impacted by trauma
- reflect on the impact of the applied strategies.
Email feedback about this resource to firstname.lastname@example.org using subject line ‘Trauma-informed practice in schools: An explainer’. You can also subscribe to the CESE newsletter and connect with us on Yammer.
Alignment to system priorities and/or needs:
NSW Department of Education Disability Strategy
NSW Department of Education Inclusive, Engaging and Respectful Schools policy
Alignment to School Excellence Framework: Learning domain – wellbeing; Teaching domain – effective classroom practice, learning and development
Alignment with existing frameworks: Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – Standards 1, 4, 6
NSW Wellbeing Framework for Schools – Connect, Succeed, Thrive
Disability Standards for Education
Reviewed by: School Services and Disability Strategy Implementation directorates
Created/last updated: Originally published 28 January 2020
To be reviewed: CESE publications are prepared through a rigorous process. Resources are reviewed periodically as part of an ongoing evaluation plan