Teachers in Wales set to receive training in trauma

Sue Learner
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Teachers at every school in Wales will be offered training so they can help pupils tackle the damaging effects of early childhood trauma.

PPS/CC

Teachers at every school in Wales will be offered training so they can help pupils tackle the damaging effects of early childhood trauma.

Teachers, lunchtime supervisors and teaching assistants are to be offered the training to make them more aware of the life-long impact adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have on pupils.

ACEs include family breakdown or bereavement, verbal and physical abuse, drug and alcohol abuse in the home, having a parent in prison, sexual abuse and mental illness.

Forty-one per cent of 41 per cent of adults with four or more ACEs suffer mental health problems, according to research from Public Health Wales and Bangor University. Four or more ACEs means
that as an adult they will be four times more likely to be a high-risk drinker, six times more likely to be a smoker and 14 times more likely to have been involved in violence in the last year.

Sian Griffiths is an additional learning needs co-ordinator at St Gwladys Primary School, Bargoed, seconded to Public Health Wales to oversee the pilot and the roll-out of the training package across Wales. She said: ‘This is a multi-agency approach and we hope schools will look at where they are now in terms of pupils’ well-being and where they could be. Healthy Schools co-ordinators will create
action plans and by
becoming ACE-informed schools they will be able to provide emotional coaching for pupils and develop their resilience while also looking after staff wellbeing.’

Three primary schools in Bridgend have been involved in a pilot project funded by the Home Office Police Innovation Fund and the South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. These have proved to be a success so a training package will be available to all primary and secondary schools in Wales from the middle of the year.

School staff are shown how to use age-appropriate tools including puppets and real life stories. Sessions are also held for parents and there is training for teachers and other school staff. Older children learn how to act as helpers to playground supervisors and Friendship Groups focus on communication, teamwork
and conflict management.

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