We are delighted to share that we have been awarded the Trauma and Mental Health Informed Schools Award following an assessment last week by Trauma Informed Schools UK; not only are we the first school in West Somerset, we are also the first school in Somerset to have achieved this award!
This is in recognition of the school’s commitment to understanding that behaviour is a communication of an unmet need or as an adapted, defensive stress response. As team, we know that children learn best within positive, trusting relationships and this informs our approach to managing and changing behaviour. We reviewed our behaviour policy in 2021 focusing on a restorative approach to managing behaviour and introduced a Relationships Policy. These can be found on the school website.
Over the last two years, all staff regardless of their role, have undergone training focusing on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the developing brain and strategies to support children to process their emotions. Our work has been driven by Mrs Weaver who has a diploma in Trauma and Mental Health and is now a TISUK Trainer.
The impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health and wellbeing continues to be noticeable in children and young people across the country. As a team working on the ‘front line’ we want to support our children to overcome their difficulties to avoid them manifesting into more serious mental health difficulties in the future. We are fortunate at present to have two trained Emotional Literacy Assistants, Mrs Perkins and Mrs Parsons, who can support children through bespoke sessions linked to emotional literacy. In addition, we have access to a holistic therapist, Mrs Kelly Twiss, who offers Mindfulness sessions weekly.
The assessor’s summary of our school is below:
Knights Templar Community Church School is a warm, inclusive, caring environment that has relationship and belonging at the heart of all that it does. At every level, members of the school community feel safe, supported, and valued. There is evidently a strong team spirit and mutual support between staff and leadership. Staff and governors understand the purpose of a trauma informed approach and are committed to embodying this in their practice. Staff are skilled in the ways that they speak and listen to children, they are timely in recognising need and responding with care, warmth, and empathy. The school environment is calm, focuses on positive reinforcement and social engagement and promotes the SEEKING system through thoughtfully designed displays and design of common spaces. The school commitment to inclusion is reflected in a curriculum that values diversity and is evident in their capacity to go above and beyond to provide what children need to be successful, access their learning and live life well.
Further information about Trauma Informed Schools UK can be found here: https://www.traumainformedschools.co.uk/