The Origin and Purpose of the Trauma-Informed Practice Principles for Schools

  • These Principles are provided to assist schools to become trauma-informed.
  • They were derived from a thematic analysis of 20 international trauma-informed programs, then revised and finalised in consultation with international experts via a Delphi Survey.
  • Schools are encouraged to ensure they reach the four Overarching principles which underpin the ten Practice Principles.
  • See the List of Principles below or download a Printable Principles Poster as below.
  • More information including rationale, clear definitions, and evidence based-strategies to assist schools to align with these Principles are provided in The Thoughtful Schools Guidebook.

The Trauma-Informed Practice Principles for Schools

Overarching Principles

Principle A: Student Focused

The School responds to the needs of the children and young people first and foremost

Principle B: Understanding and Responsive

The School is culturally, socially and emotionally understanding and responsive

Principle C: Models Compassion and Generosity

The school models and honours compassion, empathy, caring and generosity

Principle D: Ethos Incorporates First Nation’s Peoples

The culture and experiences of the traditional custodians of the land on which the school sits are incorporated into the schools ethos

Practice Principles

1. Priorities safety and wellbeing

The school prioritises physical, social and emotional safety and well-being.         

3. Provides a positive school culture

The school provides a positive school culture that acknowledges and respects diversity, and builds connectedness.

5. Supports vulnerable students

The school identifies vulnerable children and young people early and provides individualised attention and support.

7. Provides trauma training

The school offers a range of learning opportunities to staff, students and the broader community about trauma and it’s impacts.

9. Identifies and nurtures strengths

The school identifies and nurtures children and young peoples’ strengths to ensure they feel valued and challenged.

2. Models positive relationships

The school values and models positive relationships, communication and interactions.

4. Consults and collaborates

The school works with families, community and services to identify and respond to trauma.

6. Teaches social and emotional learning

The school teaches social and emotional learning to promote emotional intelligence and resilience.

8. Is predictable yet flexible

The school provides a structured and predictable environment that is flexible to individual children and young peoples’ needs.

10. Reflects change and grows

The school reflects, changes and grows in response to the integration of trauma-informed practices.