Improving teachers' and leaders' knowledge of trauma helps staff understand student behaviours so they can better support student need.
The pilot is being delivered by around 20 facilitators, some of whom share their thoughts on trauma-informed practice below.
Marianne Mitchell, Principal, the Bidgee School in Wagga. The Bidgee School provides specialist intervention for students impacted by complex trauma, abuse, neglect, family violence, autism and mental health conditions.
"The need to raise awareness around trauma and the impacts to these young people is important. We have developed our own curriculum, teaching young people about their neurobiology. This has made a significant difference to reducing shame and understanding about what they've experienced. They're able to use strategies we teach them for themselves. In nine months, they made two years gains in literacy and numeracy even though they were spending less time because we were preparing their brains to learn. It's empowering for them so it gives them hope for their future so they can then manage anxiety, depression and the feeling of not fitting into schools.
I'm thrilled that the Department of Education sees it as a priority to develop and fund these courses so all schools have access to knowledge on this."
Patrick Faucher, Principal, Green Square School. Green Square is a medium to long term program primarily for students experiencing challenges with their behaviour in a mainstream setting.
"Trauma-informed practice is important because it's one piece of understanding the human brain, and teaching is all about the human brain. It's built the capacity of students to understand their own healthcare needs but also understand learning through an understanding of the brain.
This course will achieve greater teacher efficacy, improve teacher wellbeing, improve student learning outcomes and wellbeing, and improve teacher pedagogy."
Karen Burt - Lead for the writing team of the pilot course
"We have kids coming in to school who have had experiences as children they had no control over that may have compromised their development and ability to learn, engage, socialise. Our system needs to engage with that. It's about equity. You need to meet the needs of those who come from disadvantage and a trauma informed lens helps you to do that. I would like to see that all teachers and all school staff would have a knowledge of this."
Deb Costa - District School Counsellor, Cessnock
"It's important for everyone in schools to understand what may be contributing to difficulties getting in the way of school engagement and learning. It's about providing greater educational opportunities for these children who have perhaps been disadvantaged. We have to look at protecting and supporting all people who work in a school community by balancing the needs of the child and the adult rather than taking an either/or approach. We have to remember we're talking about children, and developmentally vulnerable and at risk children, and education is their pathway out of disadvantage."
The results of this pilot, a key commitment under the Disability Strategy, will inform how this professional development is made available across our system. We look forward to sharing with you how the new professional development is received and next steps.