Over half of Telford and Wrekin primary schools are trauma informed

Telford & Wrekin Council is helping schools across the borough become more aware of the impact of difficult experiences on children and young people. This approach, known as trauma informed, aims to provide extra support for social and emotional needs, making sure that all children and young people feel safe, secure and cared for.

Councillor Eileen Callear (Lab), Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy said:

“Our schools are working hard to provide the best education possible for children and young people and a high number of them are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.

“However, emotional wellbeing and mental health, whether it is personal or pandemic related,  continues to be a challenging issue among some of our children and young people. 

“By working together with local partners from health and social care, we support schools to help children and young people with challenging situations so they can overcome them and reach their full potential.”

To date, the council's Virtual School Team has provided trauma informed training sessions to 51% of the borough’s primary schools. 

This training enables staff members to better understand the challenges children and young people may face outside the classroom and to provide support for their emotional well-being and mental health within the school environment.

Michelle Salter, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Virtual School Head Teacher said:

“By providing training sessions to schools, we want to embed a trauma informed culture in their work to help all children and young people feel safe, secure and that they belong. 

 “Our Virtual School Team has also assisted ten primary schools in the borough in a pilot project to become "relational schools” – that is, to develop positive relationships within their school community and with local partners, ultimately improving educational outcomes.

“All schools in the pilot project have been nominated for the ARC Attachment Award, a national award which recognises and celebrates best practices in attachment and trauma aware schools. “This is fantastic news for our schools taking part and an acknowledgement of their hard work and dedication in promoting mental health and wellbeing throughout their school community. 

“Over the next year, we will be expanding our trauma informed training sessions and “relational schools” pilot project to more schools in Telford and Wrekin, including secondary schools. 

“We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact these will make in meeting the emotional and wellbeing needs of our children and young people.”

Sally Sixsmith, Headteacher at St George’s CofE Primary and Nursery School, who recently completed the council’s trauma informed training, said: 

“St George’s has always been a school that is passionate about using a variety of ways to support children with trauma and attachment, for example Emotion Coaching. 

“By receiving the excellent trauma-informed training from the Virtual School, we have been able to develop our approaches further.

“We believe it is essential to develop strong and positive relationships with children and their families to gain a sense of trust and belonging. This means we can work with individual children and personalise support packages in order for them to flourish in school and at home. 

“Our staff have hugely benefitted from trauma training and recognise that some children need additional understanding and a different way of working to meet their needs. 

“We have seen significant impact in this area with children successfully remaining in school having been at risk of exclusion, as well as seeing them contribute fully to school life and gaining strong, lasting friendships.” 

The core mission of Telford and Wrekin Council’s Virtual School is to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of borough children, by working with partners in education, health and social care to ensure children’s opportunities in school are the best they can be.

To find out more about Telford & Wrekin Council’s Virtual School team, visit the council’s website

Photo (left to right, back row): Sally Sixsmith (Headteacher St George’s CofE Primary and Nursery School), Michelle Salter ( Telford & Wrekin Council’s Virtual School Head Teacher), Councillor Eileen Caller (Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Visitor Economy) and Joseph Leppington (Education Adviser, Telford & Wrekin Council's Virtual School Team)