Sandy Hill Academy believe in providing every child with the opportunity to experience an outstanding education, both academically and emotionally and socially. We believe by identifying the barriers to learning, providing an inspiring and relevant curriculum that considers the whole child and providing the necessary support for children to achieve and develop, all children will reach their true potential.
We are committed to ensuring that our school develops a Trauma and Mental Health Informed Approach to ensure that all our children develop positive mental health and resilience, enabling them to fully engage in life and learning. There is a growing body of research and understanding of the impact of Childhood Adversity on long term mental and physical health and the protective factors that mitigate the potential impact. It is our aim to maximise the protective factors of school by creating an environment of safety that has strong, positive. supportive relationships at its heart.
Whole School Approach
We have embraced a wider definition of trauma to encompass any event that is experienced as frightening, painful or out of control, characterised by there being no one available to support or mitigate the impact of traumatic toxic stress. As such, even the day-to-day exposure to events such as divorce, loss of a loved one, illness within the family, preparing for an exam or moving house can be experienced as traumatic. Children and adults can be affected by toxic stress. Providing an environment that has safety, connection and compassion at its heart ensures that our school environment acts to maximise protective factors through the conscious use of our relationships.
All adults in our school are aware of how to create an ethos and environment of both physical and psychological safety and have the skills to respond to those who have been impacted by traumatic stress. We fully understand and support the impact that connection with a trusted, emotionally available adult has on a child and seek to maximise this for those in our care who are identified as requiring additional support.
The school has undertaken extensive whole school training, provided by Trauma Informed Schools UK so that every adult has the skills and understanding to respond appropriately to the relational needs our children may display. Our behaviour and relationship policies reflect a trauma informed approach and our rewards and sanctions are both developmentally and trauma- informed. We do not operate a ‘zero tolerance’ or ‘one size fits all’ approach to distressed behaviour, however, we have high expectations of behaviour for all and rigorous support is offered to those having difficulty meeting those expectations.
We have specially trained Trauma and Mental Health Informed Practitioners to support children who are identified as requiring additional support. This support may be offered in 1:1 sessions, in class or in small groups.
Children are identified for additional support by a number of methods. We universally screen the emotional and social development of our children using Motional once a term. This assesses key executive functions and skills, emotional literacy and self-regulation. Children do not always present through their outward behaviour when life is becoming difficult for them, our universal screening program ensures that no child is missed. Children may be highlighted through a significant change in their behaviour in schools or through a parental concern when behaviour changes at home or a significant life event impacts the family.
Our aim is to support children to make sense of their experience, find ways to manage their emotions and feelings and ensure that they maintain the capacity to learn, despite difficult events that may happen for them.
We believe that our parents know their children best and we are committed to working in partnership to identify the best ways of providing support for your child within school. We aim to develop positive, non-judgemental working alliances with all our parents.
Our trauma-informed approach applies to all of our Academy members, children, adults and parents alike. Our aim is always to PROTECT our school community members and reduce their levels of toxic stress at the earliest indication, offering support and skill development, with the adults they know best, in a place they feel both safe and supported, within their community.