We are very pleased to announce that we are involved in an exciting new forward-thinking project called 'Transition Through a Trauma Lens' with Cheshire West and Chester Local Authority spanning the next two academic years.
The aim of the project is to help vulnerable children transition from primary to secondary school and get schools to look at some behaviour patterns in a new light (through a trauma-informed lens). This approach highlights that some children who have experienced adversity find it more difficult to cope with transitions, and this may be expressed in certain behaviours when they move from a small primary school to a much larger, more diverse secondary school.
There are twelve schools participating in the project and each school has selected a cohort of children ranging from Y5-Y8. They have been identified by the school as having some difficulties in their lives and/or having SEMH needs. These children do not have an accompanying EHCP or PEP (for Looked After Children) so often slip through the net when transition takes place.
Originally created for the children who attend Beech Lodge School (where over 60% of the children are adopted), the Fagus approach takes into account children that have experienced adversity may have significant gaps in their social and emotional 'building blocks' through missed social, emotional and relational experiences. Sometimes this results in these children not behaving in an age-appropriate way. By using the Fagus developmentally sequenced framework of 'typical' behaviours, a school can baseline a child's social and emotional functioning by analysing their exhibiting behaviours against typical age-expected behaviours. This comparison may reveal that a child is functioning below their chronological age-range in a number of social and emotional domains (with Fagus you can delve into 13 different social and emotional areas). You can also pinpoint the areas of concern where delays are the most significant.
All schools on the project will assess their children's social and emotional strengths and weaknesses using the Fagus online checklist tool and Developmental Guides, creating a summary of an individual's social and emotional skill gaps, depicted in an example Fagus Developmental Profile (see image on the left).
Once schools have this developmental starting-point, they can use the information to set appropriate goals, target strategies and focus interventions. The snapshot also enables schools to understand that certain behaviours may be caused by a gap in a child's social and emotional functioning, and therefore an adjustments of their expectations may be required, with an accompanying action plan.
As part of the project, schools will also receive training on the impact trauma has on a developing child, a chance to roll-out some interventions to build the children's social and emotional skills, such as improving self-esteem and coping mechanisms etc and the key staff involved in the project will have a chance to get advice from an Educational Psychologist and an Early Help and Prevention Advisor at termly cluster meetings.
We hope that in the long-run this project will improve the transition model for ALL vulnerable children, as well as develop school-ready resources and best practice policies and procedures to assist disadvantaged children as they enter the next stage of their lives, leading to better outcomes for all.
Watch this space for more information and if you have any questions about the project, please email: email@example.com.