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Trauma Informed - Scotland Perspective

Barnardo's as an organisation has been on a journey to be trauma informed. This work has been strongly evident within schools across Scotland, with a clear focus on making a difference to children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Central to a trauma-informed approach are relationships that are nurturing, compassionate, rights respecting, trauma sensitive, that build resilience, and involve people who care deeply about children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Barnardo’s Scotland and Public Health Scotland worked in partnership to produce this informative video which looks at all of the above in detail. “All About Relationships” features interviews and case studies across several schools across Scotland and can be found by clicking the first link, with the other two navigating you to the two corresponding websites for each partner:

The trauma-informed relational approach has involved working closely with education staff around the country across Early Years, Primary and Secondary to support and harness the importance of awareness and understanding of childhood trauma, adversity and poverty, amongst other factors, that can make life challenging for young people.

Throughout this journey, positive relationships were formed within education settings that enabled teachers and wider education staff the opportunity to continue providing safe, trusting and consistent environments to support young people that produce a culture of warmth, kindness, nurture and positive relationships.

This has been evident within Barnardo’s Nurture Service, Inverclyde, where the family support team have supported across the Primary and Secondary Schools since 2015, being responsible for bridging the gap between the family home and the school environment, building trusting relationships with children, young people, parents and carers throughout this period of time. The trauma-informed approach has ensured that harnessing nurturing environments is required to engage with families at a deeper level with the hope of raising attainment for the children and young people within the education setting.

Barnardo’s Scotland has also embraced the PATHS® Programme for Schools (UK/NI Version)  in over 50 education establishments in the country across the Renfrewshire, Glasgow and East Ayrshire regions. The PATHS® Programme is designed to facilitate the young person’s development and emotional awareness, whilst looking to improve key areas such as self-esteem, engagement within the classroom setting and emotional literacy. In turn, this would ensure that emotional distress and aggressive behaviour reduces for the young people involved within Paths. This evidenced based programme is another example of the importance of being trauma informed and using approaches to support children and young people with the adversity and experiences they have had. There are two links below to the PATHS® Programme.

Useful Worksheets:

Supporting the Return to School with Hobfoll’s Five Principles of Recovery:

The Learning Triangle: A Model of Attachment & Learning by Heather Geddes:

“What if?” Using a trauma-informed lens to reframe behaviour:

The Trauma-informed Classroom - Providing a Safe Base:

Treating Trauma with Hope and Optimism:

Applying the 4 Rs of Trauma-Informed approaches in the return to school:


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