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by Gemma Fraser
23 May 2019
Trauma support for school children

Image credit: Scottish Government

Trauma support for school children

School children are being helped to cope with the effects of adversity and trauma through a new resource looking at developing confidence and resilience.

The health and wellbeing curricular resource has been developed by Education Scotland.

Called the Compassionate and Connected Classroom, it is designed to help upper primary children deal with challenges and adversity by developing their confidence, resilience, compassion and empathy.

It forms part of a wider set of materials that includes a professional learning resource to support practitioners’ understanding of adversity and trauma.

HM Chief Inspector Gayle Gorman, who launched the resource, said: “Trauma and adversity can both have a major impact on children’s wellbeing and mental health.

“That’s why this resource has been designed to specifically support the mental wellbeing of children and to build teacher confidence in exploring these issues with children.

“The key to the successful implementation of this resource is the role of the teacher in creating a positive ethos and culture of respect and trust in the class.

“Children affected by trauma may be resistant to opening up to others and this has to be noticed, understood and respected.

“So the willingness of the teacher to approach and engage in discussion, without judgement and with empathy and compassion, is crucial.”

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “This is an important addition to the suite of resources that already support local authorities and schools as they build emotional and physical wellbeing in our children and young people, creating resilience to help them manage life’s challenges. 

“The Scottish Government remains committed to preventing adverse childhood experiences but where they do occur, we want to mitigate their impact and resources like this will play a pivotal role in realising this.” 

Education Scotland’s education officer for inclusion Gail Nowek led the team that developed both the curricular and professional learning resources, alongside a group of practitioners from local authorities.

She said: “It’s vital that children are supported to think about the impact of trauma on themselves and their classmates, and how they can support one another.

“They will be helped to develop an understanding that adversity and trauma can happen to anyone, and that this can impact on wellbeing.

“Importantly, teachers will also be encouraged to look at what lies beneath behaviour and to support children and young people’s unmet needs which may arise as a result of adversity and trauma.’’

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