Understanding trauma in children and young people in the school setting

Spence, Ruth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6197-9975, Kagan, Lisa, Kljakovic, Moja ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0808-5865 and Bifulco, Antonia ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8316-9706 (2021) Understanding trauma in children and young people in the school setting. Educational and Child Psychology, 38 (1) . pp. 87-98. ISSN 0267-1611 [Article]

[img] PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (289kB)


Aim: Educational practitioners are increasingly aware of trauma experiences in students as a factor in child disturbance and schooling problems. This discussion paper aims to clarify definitions of trauma and differentiate them from other adverse childhood experiences (ACE), describe trauma impact in terms of clinical outcomes (PTSD, emotional and behavioural disorder) and how attachment factors mediate risk and discuss the challenges and ethics of identifying and enquiring about trauma experience in a school setting.
Rationale: Schools are increasingly required to be 'trauma sensitive' and to intervene where possible, with government requirements of improving mental health in schools. However, this poses a real challenge for educationalists given the barriers due to ethics, stigma/secrecy, referral implications and measurement availability for whole school approaches. Universal screening may provide a framework that helps schools recognise, measure and treat trauma.
Findings: A conceptual model clarifying trauma exposure, trauma impact and mediating factors is identified to aid understanding for teachers. Use of technological screening methods for whole school monitoring of trauma impacts, including mediating risks, are outlined.
Limitations: A full literature review of trauma or school-based interventions is not provided. Nor are biological impacts of trauma at different developmental stages described.
Conclusion: Teachers would benefit from having a psychological understanding of trauma models and their component parts in order to identify what lies within the remit of schools for identification and intervention.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Series: Educational and Child Psychology
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies (CATS)
Item ID: 33029
Notes on copyright: This is a pre-publication version of the following article: Ruth Spence, Lisa Kagan, Moja Kljakovic & Antonia Bifulco (2021) Understanding trauma in children and young people in the school setting. Educational & Child Psychology 38 (1) . pp. 87-98. ISSN 0267-1611
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Ruth Spence
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2021 11:28
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:56
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/33029

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.