Renfrewshire Council

Primary school pupils with an RNRA accreditation bear

Using nurture to mitigate adverse childhood experiences and trauma

Learning about ACEs and trauma is helping teachers and professional staff to support the children and young people who have experienced them.

We all know that adverse childhood experiences, known as ACEs, and trauma can be damaging to children and young people's development and, in particular, can stunt them reaching their full potential at school and beyond.

Our team of educational psychologists have been finding out more about ACEs and trauma so we can develop resources that best support children and young people who need it.

We have screened the documentary 'Resilience; the biology of stress and the science of hope' to 35 groups of teachers, education professionals and support staff, and this is helping us to better understand how nurturing relationships can help to mitigate the impact of ACEs and trauma.

At one screening, a member of staff said: "The future of a child can be improved no matter what has happened before".

Another member of staff said: "Know your children and take their background and experiences into account."

The Connected and Compassionate Classroom

Our Nurture PT, Lorna Bruce, has worked with Education Scotland to develop 'The Compassionate and Connected Classroom' curricular resource. It provides teachers and education professionals with strategies and skills that will help children and young people to cope with challenge and develop their own resilience.

We will be providing teachers and professional staff with awareness raising sessions in the near future.

Renfrewshire Nurturing Relationships Accreditation

We have been celebrating and recognising the progress that establishments are making towards becoming nurturing communities, where relationships and nurturing approaches are at the heart of everything they do. Establishments have been presented with RNRA bears and over-sized cheques to demonstrate their commitment to developing RNRA.

The Accreditation Awards Toolkit sets out standards and criteria for planning, measuring, reviewing and reporting on RNRA outcomes and impact. This will be launched in the near future and Establishments will be able to apply for RNRA Accreditation.

RNRA training

More than 100 senior leaders (headteachers, depute headteachers) and other key staff have now received leadership training that equips them to lead RNRA in their own schools, nursery or learning base.

We've also spoke with more than 1,000 teachers, education professionals and support staff through whole-school training of RNRA.

After the training sessions, some staff members said:

"I aim to ensure that all children feel safe and valued in class by allowing them to have opportunities to speak about their emotions and to understand how they are feeling and expressing these appropriately."

"I can make a real difference to the children in my class."

"Lots of great ideas and strategies to use in the classroom to support the individual needs of pupils who have experienced trauma and ACES."

Who is on board?

So far, we are working with 43 primary schools, 10 secondary schools, 1 specialist provision and those establishments that are flexing learning continuum focused.

We also have 21 Early Learning and Childcare Centres and Classes (ELCC) as well as four partner nurseries that are developing RNRA in their establishment. ELC classes are developing theirs along with their schools.


Michael Harker

Principal Psychologist

Published on Friday 7 February 2020.

Pictured: Primary school pupils with an RNRA accreditation bear