The Academy of Central Bedfordshire

  1. About us
  2. Trauma Informed Practice

Government Working definition (November 2022): Trauma-informed approaches have become increasingly cited in policy and adopted in practice as a means for reducing the negative impact of trauma experiences and supporting mental and physical health outcomes. They build on evidence developed over several decades.

Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as harmful or life threatening. While unique to the individual, generally the experience of trauma can cause lasting adverse effects, limiting the ability to function and achieve mental, physical, social, emotional or spiritual well-being.

Here at the ACB we recognise that trauma can affect individuals, groups and communities. We aim to improve the accessibility and quality of our education provision by creating a culturally sensitive and safe school community that our young people and their families trust and feel they belong to.


Trauma-informed practice is an approach to interventions which is grounded in the understanding that trauma exposure can impact an individual’s neurological, biological, psychological and social development. Such an approach to practice aims to increase practitioners’ awareness of how trauma can negatively impact on individuals and communities, and their ability to feel safe or develop trusting relationships within school and the wider community.


We acknowledge the need to see beyond an individual’s presenting behaviours and to ask, ‘What does this person need?’ rather than ‘What is wrong with this person?’, and we work in collaboration and partnership with our young people and families, seeking to empower them to make choices about their health and wellbeing.


The purpose of trauma-informed practice is not to treat trauma-related difficulties, which remains the role of trauma-specialist services and practitioners. Instead, as educational practitioners we seek to address the barriers that people affected by trauma can experience when accessing education and learning. As part of this approach we also seek to avoid re-traumatisation which is the re-experiencing of thoughts, feelings or sensations experienced at the time of a traumatic event or circumstance in a person’s past. Re-traumatisation is generally triggered by reminders of previous trauma which may or may not be potentially traumatic in themselves.


All staff are trained and supported in meeting the needs of vulnerable children and young people, with a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma, alongside a passion and commitment to support and inspire every young person to develop both personally and academically. The education provision at the ACB is planned around the core values of Achieving, Caring and Belonging with a focus on building skills and confidence in trauma informed and inclusive practice amongst leaders and practitioners to work with students, parents/carers and all stakeholders to identify the needs of every student and to meet these needs as best we possibly can, whether these be cognitive, emotional, personal, social, academic, contextual, physical, communicative, health.


We are dedicated to developing positive and effective relationships with pupils, parents/carers, staff, our local community, alongside our wider community of schools and professionals from all agencies that we work with, and embedding relational practice throughout the school. We are committed to maintaining high expectations of achievement, continually reflecting on practice and provision, to ensure every pupil experiences and recognises their own success and achievement through inclusive practice and identification of need.



Principles of Trauma Informed Practice:

Protect: Our priority is to ensure safety first; not just the physical environment but also the relational environment and the ethos and culture of the school. This requires emotionally regulated adults who can provide essential calming and containment when a child is overwhelmed by an event, a situation or their feelings. Responses to their distressed and challenging behaviours are supportive and not punitive. We aim to continually provide experiences for every young person that promotes and fosters a young person’s love of learning, protects their innate joie de vivre and desire to explore the world around them, and engenders a sense of purpose in life.

Relate: We seek to provide repeated positive relational experiences with emotionally available adults. We will support and educate our young people around forming positive and meaningful relationships that are fundamental to good mental health.

Regulate: We are committed to using evidence based strategies and interventions that support co-regulation and self regulation whilst reducing toxic stress; for example, the use of safety cues, toys, spaces, yoga, arts and crafts, therapy dogs, talking intervention, empathy, time in with key adults. Across all aspects of the school we look to reinforce positive learning experiences providing frequent and regular opportunities to celebrate achievement and positive moments.

Reflect: Even in troubling incidents, children are helped to reflect with a supportive, non-judgemental adult. Reflection will support emotional and mental health, and facilitate the child to develop a language for their emotions supporting them to make sense of their feelings and physical responses. Key staff are trained in reflective conversations to enable vulnerable children to edit the inaccurate narratives they have told themselves. Staff in all areas of the school are supported in reflecting on practice with a view to exploring new options and strategies with peers and with individual young people, encouraging all stakeholders to reflect on different possibilities and recognising positive moments.