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Education model enhances trauma-aware practices in schools

19 October, 2021

Catholic Education – Diocese of Rockhampton (CEDR) has partnered with Berry Street, one of Australia’s largest independent family service organisations, to further develop trauma-aware practices within schools and improve overall student wellbeing.

The Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) provides strategies that enable teachers to increase engagement of students with complex, unmet learning needs and to help all students improve self-regulation, relationships, wellbeing, growth and academic achievement.

Representative staff from 21 Primary Schools and Colleges from throughout the Diocese attended the first two days of training recently with further professional development scheduled in 2022.

Based on a holistic approach, the model offers a framework for schools to embed key principles of trauma-informed care within their school community and more fully demonstrate an explicit commitment to student wellbeing.

CEDR Student Wellbeing Project Officer Erin Sheldrick said the model allows schools to be both proactive and pre-emptive in their approach to supporting students. “It is proactive in setting up strategies, routines and environments that give students the best chance of succeeding at school, and pre-emptive because it helps teachers to detect early signs of escalation and dysregulation or distress,” Miss Sheldrick said.  “The training enables staff to develop the capacity to take these strategies and skills back to their schools and classes, leading to whole school changes in school culture and teacher practice,” Miss Sheldrick said.

“The feedback from the first training sessions has been incredibly positive. Many of the participants have spoken about how practical the training is and how they are looking forward to going back to schools and being able to implement their learnings with a renewed enthusiasm and drive to support students who may have unmet developmental needs,” Miss Sheldrick said.  Miss Sheldrick said the CEDR Wellbeing team would develop a supporting document to provide schools with a process on how to implement the BSEM using a whole school framework for trauma-informed practice with guidance on aligning and preparation, planning, taking action and monitoring and reviewing.