Trauma-Informed Approach

Trauma-Informed Schools Approach at Knowle West Nursery School

At Knowle West Nursery School, we know that positive early relational experiences are key to building children’s healthy brains. We recognise that secure early attachments to emotionally available adults are fundamental to enable children to feel safe and secure, to promote their self-confidence, good physical health, academic achievement and to enable them to develop healthy relationships throughout their lives.

We recognise that in order to support children’s behaviour and wellbeing, we must first acknowledge and understand their feelings, needs and experiences. We can do this by ensuring we build strong, authentic, trusting relationships with children and their parents and carers, enabling us to truly know their individual, personal stories.

At Knowle West Nursery School, we are committed to practices which are attachment-aware, trauma-informed and relationships-led.

In 2020, we began our association with Trauma Informed Schools UK (TISUK) and accessed a range of training opportunities to develop our understanding of trauma-informed practice. We now currently have three qualified Trauma Informed Practitioners working in our school; Helen Hogg, George Wilcox and Rachel Stoyell. Our Head Teacher Jenny McDonald, has completed the Senior Leaders training, and the whole staff team have also completed Trauma Informed Schools training.

Becoming a recognised trauma-informed school involved applying to achieve the Trauma and Mental Health Informed School Award, and in March 2024, Knowle West Nursery School was awarded this TISUK Award.

Senior Leadership Team, L-R Helen Hogg, George Wilcox, Rachel Stoyell, Jenny McDonald (Headteacher).

The application process included an external assessment from a TISUK consultant and an in-person visit to the school.

The school’s overall assessment described the following;

Knowle West Nursery School is a beacon of excellent trauma informed practice. It is a lighthouse and a beacon for its community. The work they are doing with the children and parents is transformational and they are healing intergenerational trauma.

This school is incredible, and the staff are rightly proud of their achievements and the long journey which has led them to this point. They will never rest on their laurels, and are on a quest for constant improvement. Parents, as well as their children are true partners in this work. The compassion and care the staff feel for their children, their parents and the wider community of Knowle West is infectious. They meet every criteria to be awarded Trauma Informed status, and it was a privilege and pleasure to have spent time in their company.


At Knowle West Nursery School, we are extremely proud of this achievement, particularly as we are the first early years setting and nursery school in the country to achieve this status.

The award acknowledges the skills and expertise of the whole staff team and validates our commitment to this critical area of our work for the Knowle West community.

For more information on what being a Trauma Informed School looks like in practice please read our ‘Attachment Aware Behaviour Regulation’ Policy and visit the TISUK website.

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