The Catholic School of St Gregory The Great Believe and Achieve

Trauma Informed Relational Practice

We are trauma informed and relational in our culture.


At our school ‘every person matters, every person helps, every person succeeds so that each of us live “life in all its fullness”. (John 10:10). 

Our vision is that all children, staff, families and our wider community are supported in building resilience and emotional literacy to help them through any bumps in the road that they may face. 

What is trauma?
Trauma is a term used 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. Providing an environment that has safety, connection and compassion at its heart ensures that we help our children and families to feel physically and psychologically safe maximising protective factors through the conscious building of strong trusting relationships.


Ofsted (2022) have identified 6 key principles of Trauma Informed Practice. These are: safety, trust, choice, collaboration, empowerment and cultural consideration. Click HERE to find out more.


How we support our children and our St Gregory’s community

  • 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.
  • Our committed Inclusion Team and Child and Family Action Team (CAFAW) team are Trauma Informed and work hard to support children in school and their families. They offer therapeutic support as well as having access to a wide range of external services and agencies. 
  •  Our School Hub is a space for emotional support, regulation and specific interventions to support any children or family in our school who need it.


  • Our Sensory Room is a designated safe space where children can go to regulate or co-regulate. Multisensory tools are used in order to support children as they regulate. These include: smells to calm, different sensory objects to touch, calm lighting and varying noises proven to calm.


  • We offer Parent Workshops that aim to equip parents to know how they might be able to support their children with regulation/emotion coaching. Our parental engagement is fantastic with over 90% of families engaging in these workshops.


Key Principles and Tools 

What Zone are you in?



The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum based around the use of four colours to help children self-identify how they’re feeling and categorise it based on colour. The curriculum also helps children better understand their emotions, sensory needs and thinking patterns. The children learn different strategies to cope and manage their emotions based on which colour zone they’re in. Additionally, the Zones of Regulation helps children to recognise their own triggers, learn to read facial expressions, develop problem-solving skills, and become more attuned to how their actions affect other people.

The Social Discipline Window


“Human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make
positive changes in their behaviour when those in positions of authority do things with them,

rather than to them or for them.”
– Ted Wachtel


The Social Discipline Window describes four basic approaches to addressing behaviour that needs to be changed. The four strategies are represented as different combinations of high or low control and high or low support. 


We believe there should be high support and high challenge in order to achieve best outcomes for all.


The NOT strategy is neglectful and therefore things are unlikely to change.
The TO strategy is punitive. There is high challenge but no support. This strategy does not address the core issues and things are unlikely to change.
The FOR strategy is permissive and things are done for someone. This inevitably means that no learning or changes will take place.
The WITH strategy is most closely aligned with our St Gregory’s approach to support. We work with our children and families. We listen and seek to understand the ‘why’ to any concerns or situation and will support fully with the necessary tools, in order to help the child/adult succeed. 


Emotion Coaching

Emotion Coaching uses moments of heightened emotion and resulting behaviour to guide and teach the child or young person about more effective responses. Through empathetic engagement, the child's emotional state is verbally acknowledged and validated, promoting a sense of security and feeling 'felt'. This activates changes in the child's neurological system and allows the child to calm down, physiologically and psychologically.


Outreach and Community Support
As well as supporting our own school community, we are and continue to be privileged to be able to support our local community, as well as further afield. 

Here are some of the ways we have supported and continue to support outside of our own school community:

  • Members of our Senior Leadership Team have supported and trained our partnership schools in Trauma Informed Relational Practice and Restorative Practice.
  • Our trained Play Therapist supports children from our local community and can be commissioned to work with children from other schools at our Pastoral Hub both in and out of school hours and term time. 
  • Members of our team have delivered keynote speeches and workshops at conferences for our Local Authority and to participants as far afield as Canada as well as sharing practice and impact with schools, public health commissioners and police throughout England.
  • If you would like to speak with someone about us working alongside your organisation to provide training, support or coaching in any of the areas above, we would be pleased to have an initial conversation with you so that a plan can be put in place.  Likewise, we are able to run focus days and learning walks of our school to show the day to day practice of implementing a trauma informed relational approach in a large primary school.  Click here to make contact about our outreach work.



Further learning and weblinks