Aspire Academy Trust

Trauma Informed Schools

A Trauma-Informed Approach

The Trust is committed to ensuring that all 29 Aspire academies develop a Trauma and Mental Health Informed Approach which will protect our school community members – staff, children and parents – alike. 

There is a growing body of research on the impact childhood adversity has on long-term mental and physical health.  To ensure every child develops positive mental health and resilience, our aim is to:

  • support children to make sense of their experience(s)
  • find ways to manage their emotions and feelings
  • create an environment of safety, connection and compassion at all times
  • build a school/Trust network of strong, positive, supportive relationships through training
  • ensure children maintain the capacity to learn, despite difficult events that may occur

The Aspire behaviour and relationship policies reflect a trauma-informed approach and our rewards and sanctions are both developmentally and trauma-informed.

We do not operate a ‘zero tolerance’ or ‘one size fits all’ approach to distressed behaviour.  We have high expectations of behaviour for all, however rigorous support is offered to those having difficulty meeting those expectations.

Trauma Informed Schools is an organisation committed to improving the health and wellbeing and ability to learn of the most vulnerable schoolchildren in the UK, namely those who have suffered trauma, abuse, neglect and/or have mental health problems or attachment issues.  It aims to provide appropriate training for schools, communities and organisations so that they become trauma informed and mentally healthy places for all.

What is trauma?

The Trust has embraced a wider definition of trauma to encompass any event that is experienced as frightening, painful or out of control, characterised by there being no one available to support or mitigate the impact of traumatic toxic stress.  Day-to-day exposure to events such as divorce, loss of a loved one, illness within the family, preparing for an exam or moving to a new house can be experienced as traumatic. 

Both children and adults can be affected by toxic stress.


The Trust is committed to whole school training, provided by organisations such as Trauma Informed Schools and training for senior mental health leads will commence spring term 2022, as per updated DfE guidance (September 2021).

How are children identified and assessed?

We have specially trained Trauma and Mental Health Informed Practitioners across the Trust.  These trusted, emotionally available adults support children who are identified as requiring additional support. This support may be offered in a 1:1 session, in class or in small groups.

Schools can use tools such as Motional or Boxall Profile to assess SEMH needs.

Children may also be highlighted through a significant change in their behaviour in schools or through a parental concern when behaviour changes at home or in response to a significant life event that impacts the whole family.