Trauma Informed School and Mental Health

Trauma Informed School and Mental Health

We have embraced the TIS approach to support all children’s emotional and social learning throughout their school day. We do this during lesson times, break times, in one-to-one or group sessions and through our extra-curriculum activities such as sport, art, cooking, role play, music and drama.

Children cannot always put their needs into words, but the way children behave can tell us a lot about how they are feeling. The TIS approach draws on the latest research from current neuroscience, recent attachment research, current studies of effective learning and current models of child development – in order to help the school to understand the needs being signalled by children’s behaviour. It gives us targeted strategies and activities to help them re-engage with learning and life.

Why do we need TIS approach? 

Unfortunately, like all of us at some point in our lives, children may face challenges that knock them off course. What is needed then is understanding and support to get them back on track. Many children will respond to the care, understanding and support given by parents, family, friends and teachers. However, some children need a little bit extra.

What extra support can Penponds School offer? 

Children who need a little bit of extra help are identified by class teachers, or through communication with families or outside agencies. For some children there may be an obvious reason why they need a bit of extra support. This might be bereavement, family breakdown or an identified medical condition such as ADHD. For others, there can be no obvious trigger as to why they are finding some aspects of school and/or home life difficult. Working closely with parents and class teachers, our TIS Practitioners, will carry out assessments to identify children’s social, emotional and behavioural needs. This helps us to build a bespoke package of activities to support their needs.

What are TIS Activities? 

TIS activities are tailored to support a child’s identified social and emotional learning needs. The activities are one-to-one and/or small group relational, play and arts-based activities designed to help the child feel better about themself; become more resilient and resourceful; form trusting, rewarding relationships; be compassionate and empathetic; and/or be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks. They might include playing in the sand, puppets, cooking, painting, model-making, exploring difficult situations through role-play or comic strips, playing strategy games or projects focusing on the child’s own interests. 

So who gets TIS approach? 

Everyone! Though they might not realise it. All our pupils have access to regular class based TIS activities; most art and sport activities are taught within the TIS Approach and PSHE always has a TIS feel. But if your child needs regular out of class TIS time, one-to-one or in a small group, you will be consulted and asked for your input into their assessment and activities.

What makes Penponds School a TIS school? 

At Penponds School we don’t consider the TIS approach to be an intervention for just a few children, we consider it to be a whole-school approach. We believe that all behaviour is communication and that communication needs to be understood and supported. TIS approach feeds into everything we do; Celebration assemblies, getting to know everyone and their families, sharing all achievements not just academic ones, celebrating our diversity and our collective spirit play-times and of course learning time.

Senior Mental Health Leads

The Rainbow Mat schools always work very closely together and throughout the year have regular network meetings across the five schools. There are a variety of network meetings, such as Maths network meetings where the Maths Leads across the trust, meet together to talk all things Maths, the SENCOs across the schools meet to share good practice and latest research and the Mental Health Teams meet up. The Mental Health Teams consist of the TIS practitioners, Family Liaison Officers (if the school has one) and the SENCOs. As a small school, this supports us greatly by working together across the Trust. We have two members of staff, across the Trust, who are working towards the Senior Mental Health Lead qualification which was funded by the DFE. At Penponds we share our Senior Mental Health Lead with Troon School. At these network meetings, the staff completing the Senior Mental Health Lead training disseminate their knowledge with the rest of the team. This ensures all staff are kept up to date with latest guidance, research and best practice. Our TIS practitioners can also pick up the phone at anytime with the Senior Mental Health Leads for support too.