Trauma-Informed Practice & Relational Policy Approach (Secondary)

To be completed by:

Time: - | Venue:

Expressions of interest welcome from mainstream secondary schools whose headteacher & senior leadership are fully committed to the ideology of relational policy and practice. In return, the LA’s educational psychology team with other LA partners will collaborate to provide a 3 year support package.

Proposal: Trauma-Informed Practice and Relational Policy (Secondary)

Summary Statement

Bradford Local Authority (LA) would like to recruit one secondary mainstream school and work with them to understand trauma-informed practice better and implement a relational approach. The LA recommends the adoption of the Resiliency Support Model (RSM) created by Bradford’s Virtual Schools and Educational Psychology Team (see Appendix). The RSM is based on current theories of attachment, emotional needs, child development and neuroscience. The LA welcomes expressions of interest from mainstream secondary schools whose headteacher and senior leadership team are fully committed to the ideology of relational policy and practice. In return, the LA’s educational psychology team (EPT), exclusion team, SCIL and Virtual Schools will collaborate to provide a three-year support package. This will include ten sessions of educational psychology time per year, to be used strategically at no cost to the school. We envisage identifying the successful school in the summer term to enable a planning meeting before we start the three-year project in September 2023.

Narrative and Wider Overview 

Early trauma experiences impede a child’s development, including their executive functioning, language, social communication and emotional regulation skills (Triesman, 2016). It is also well documented that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can impact those who have suffered over their lifespan. In particular, there is a strong relationship between ACEs and the risk of developing poor physical health (Monnat & Chandler, 2015), mental health (Merrick et al., 2017) and socioeconomic outcomes (Walsh et al., 2019). Data shows that almost 50% of adults have experienced at least one ACE and 10% four or more (Bellis et al., 2014). Finally, moving away from traditional behaviour policies based on rewards and sanctions towards a relational approach supports more recent findings from neuroscience, particularly Polyvagal Theory (Porges, 2011). In other words, it promotes a move away from defensive behaviours towards social engagement and a better understanding of the communication behind human behaviour. This promotes the development of a happier, more supportive organisation for all. 

To indicate an expression of interest in the above proposal, please answer the questions below:

  1. What are the vision and values of your school?
  2. How do the visions and values of your school align with adopting trauma-informed practice and a relational approach? 
  3. How will you demonstrate your commitment to embedding the organisational changes required to implement trauma informed practice and a relational approach?
  4. Who will lead this project in your school?

Please send your expression of interest to

Deadline: 21/04/2023


Published: 21/02/2023
Audience: Secondary headteachers
Contact: Adrienne Sedgewick

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