Trauma informed

Using the ACEs and nurture psychology approaches

  • Two Colleges, Bolton College and Hopwood Hall College were involved in this work and individually undertook to become a trauma informed college by 2021. This is very much a journey for the two colleges and tremendous cultural changes have occurred since the start of the project.
  • The approach starts from the belief that behaviour is communication and that each person’s journey to where they are now is a result of what they have or are experiencing, to look past behaviour to see what a learner needs to help them to connect, repair and build resilience to help manage their emotions. The project aimed to get staff to take a step back and not react in the moment but listen and respond in a trauma informed way. One of the key messages asked was what is happening for that young person rather than what is wrong with them.

Factors underpinning the success included

  • Having senior leadership and governor support and engagement for the work
  • Having a senior member of staff to champion and lead on the work including developing, implementing, and embedding a mental health strategy and wellbeing for learning and life strategy
  • Having in place a steering group to oversee development and delivery of the strategy.
  • Working with external partners to help deliver and cascade the training in becoming trauma informed.
  • Making the training essential for all staff to support the whole college ethos
  • Embedding a trauma informed approach across college.

Key Outcomes and Next steps  

  • Both colleges have secured resources including wellbeing rooms so a dedicated space is available to support learners experiencing crisis.
  • Significant investment has been made to secure training and development to support staff and students. This includes online support for learners who can access information and support anytime, anyplace, anywhere.
  • The reputation of the work is growing in momentum and support, and a number of colleges have approached both colleges to understand how they can start to build a similar model within their provisions. To date nine colleges across the country have been in direct contact requesting copies of the strategies and further information on the trauma informed approach. Both colleges are embarking on supporting other colleges in Greater Manchester who are starting the trauma informed journey.

Both colleges have been featured in a video on how education is responding.

Next steps

  • Following on from the success of two colleges in the initial project (Bolton College and Hopwood Hall) we’re extending support to three further colleges (Bridge College, Oldham College and St John Rigby sixth form college).
  • In 2020/21 Bolton College and Hopwood Hall are supporting a mentoring network for these three colleges
  • In our final year 2021/22 we plan to engage more colleges to undertake the Trauma Informed journey