Youth Endowment Fund - Exploring the impact of Trauma Informed Practice on reducing youth violence.

KCA is in the process of co-producing a significant training and research project co-funded by the Youth Endowment Fund and the Home Office exploring the impact of Trauma Informed Practice on reducing youth violence.

This research project is a randomised control trial (RCT), so only half the schools involved will have the opportunity to take part in the training offered by Knowledge Change Action and Warren Larkin Associates.

We are working in three partner areas: Kent; Slough; and Wiltshire and 100 schools will be identified to take part in the programme, with 50 randomly selected to receive the training.

Why is this of interest?

We know that exclusion from school impacts children’s life chances in a predictable and adverse way and, according to the Serious Violence Strategy 2018 (HO), is a clear marker for involvement in violent offences.

Violence, addiction and persistent anti-social behaviour (including offending behaviours) have been shown in repeated research to have their roots in a combination of neurological stress injury caused by exposure to trauma (or Adverse Childhood Experiences – ACEs) and a lack of connectedness with safe, trusted, securely attached others – a process that has been described by the UK Trauma Council as ‘social thinning’.

How can Trauma Informed Practice support a school?

  1. Supports schools to improve perceptions of physical and emotional safety. Feelings of safety directly impact on attendance, especially for those experiencing school based anxiety.
  2. Feelings of safety support the reduction of anti-social behaviour and have a positive impact on exclusion rates.
  3. Understanding the neuroscience of unregulated stress, helps both learners and staff wellbeing, which in turn contributes to staff retention.
  4. Taking a trauma informed approach supports the school in helping young people, especially the most vulnerable progress their learning, as measured through Progress 8.
  5. Contributes to meeting the schools statutory duty to safeguard children and young people through meeting needs and promoting inclusive practice.

What's involved?

As this is a high profile project, an evaluation will be carried out by the Anna Freud Centre through a randomised control trial. 50 of the 100 identified 'participating schools' will receive the interventions outlined below. The 50 schools in the control group will continue to access and offer wellbeing services to children and young people, and be supported by local authority funded initiatives and partnerships.

Participating Schools

If your school is selected, we will work 'with you' to understand your unique context, as opposed to 'doing to' you. You are the experts in your school and our role is about helping you to see your school through a trauma informed lens.

The programme involves the following elements which amount to 28 hours of fully funded learning and development over a period of 17 months commencing September 2024 to March 2025; taking into account school holidays. As there is a significant research project running alongside the training, your school will also work alongside the evaluation team (Anna Freud Centre) to assess the impact of the training on staff and pupils in years 8 and 9.

Training inputs to include:

Collaborative Enquiry: 1 hour Focus Group and whole school staff and pupil survey to ascertain the school’s ‘as is’ position in their journey to becoming trauma informed.

Whole school training in Attachment (2hrs online), Trauma (2hrs online) and Emotion Coaching (3hrs online or face to face)

Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Pastoral & Inclusion leads training on:

  • Therapeutic ideas for non-therapists (3hrs - online),
  • Reflective Practice (2hrs - online),
  • Building and maintaining resilience (3hrs-online),
  • Review/align policies, practices, process and structures (1.5hrs x 2 sessions),
  • Reflective Practice sessions for SLT (1.5hrs x 3)
  • Reflective Practice sessions for Pastoral and Inclusion leads (1.5hrs x3)


Through a combination of whole school engagement and targeted work for school leaders the aim of this programme is to address some of the challenges facing schools today by increasing staff capacity in:

  • Understanding the processes and consequences of trauma/ACEs/ collective trauma
  • Understanding the importance of the pupil-teacher relationship as foundational in helping pupils to address barriers to learning
  • Having access to relational approaches for addressing challenging or dysregulated behaviour
  • Having effective ways to boost self-resilience and that of colleagues

This is an extensive learning proposition for your school, so readiness to take on this development opportunity is fundamental to success for your setting.

Readiness checklist

The areas below represent a checklist for school leaders to consider:

  • Is there buy-in from the SLT and school practitioners?
  • Are there any planned strategic or operational changes, or ongoing risks that create instability or uncertainty which potentially undermines staff engagement with this programme (e.g. a serious case review in the last 12 months)?
  • Is your school able to work within the agreed timelines for the programme (September 2024 – March 2025)?
  • Will school practitioners and leaders be given time to attend the relevant whole school training?
  • Will leaders and Pastoral and Inclusion leads be given time to attend the whole school and targeted training?
  • You have had a team discussion about the practical implications of taking part in this programme of training and support?
  • You are able to commit to the number of hours involved - outside of daily operations?
  • School practitioners and staff have access to tablet, laptops or desktops (or a small group to share) to attend online training with access to WIFI connection, a camera and microphone?
  • The school is aware that training in large groups only works for face to face delivery and not online training?

For more information please email or call us on 01453 488400