TISUK Award win for Knowle West Nursery

Knowle West Nursery School first Early Years setting and Nursery School in country to achieve TISUK status

Knowle West Nursery School has been awarded the Trauma and Mental Health Informed School Award by Trauma Informed Schools UK (TISUK). 

This prestigious recognition marks Knowle West as the first early years setting and nursery school in the country to achieve this status, highlighting its unwavering commitment to trauma-informed practices.

Said Tony Sammon, TISUK assessor, “Knowle West Nursery school is a beacon of excellent trauma informed practice. It is a lighthouse and a beacon for its community. The work they are doing with the children and parents is transformational and they are healing intergenerational trauma. 

“This school is incredible, and the staff are rightly proud of their achievements and the long journey which has led them to this point. They will never rest on their laurels and are on a quest for constant improvement. 

“Parents, as well as their children, are true partners in this work. The compassion and care the staff feel for their children, their parents and the wider community of Knowle West is infectious. They meet every criterion to be awarded Trauma Informed Status and it was a privilege and pleasure to have spent time in their company.”

Said the school on winning this award: “Achieving the award validates the importance of the work that we do and the impact it has on our children both now and for the rest of their lives. It confirms what we know about early attachment and the importance of focusing on building relationships with children and families, getting to know them and understanding their stories as the foundation for their educational journey.  

“The award acknowledges the level of specialist knowledge held within the Knowle West Nursery school team and celebrates the commitment and dedication of the whole staff team to this critical work.”

Nursery Garden Knowle West Nursery
TISUK Award win for Knowle West Nursery

Knowle West Nursery School has an established Senior Leadership team that have all worked at the school between 10-17 years. Several practitioners have also worked at the school for this length of time. Their collective knowledge has grown considerably over the years with key staff accessing training on attachment, emotional regulation, supporting behaviour, and trauma-informed practices. The key messages from continual, professional development have helped to shape our approach and practice today.

In 2020 Rachel Stoyell had the opportunity to undertake the TISUK diploma. Later Helen Hogg and George Wilcox went on to complete the training after the school successfully managed to access some additional funding. Jenny McDonald (headteacher) completed the Senior Leads training.

Said the school: “With a Trauma Informed Senior Leadership team, we were able to plan and deliver training to disseminate key messages to the whole staff team. Across a series of INSET days, and during compulsory induction sessions for new staff, the Trauma Informed Approach was cascaded. All three Trauma Informed Practitioners have been based in the classrooms to model the approach in practice and support staff’s confidence.

“In early 2023 we believed we were truly a ‘trauma informed’ school and were excited to apply for the Award. We were required to write an application form, detailing how we met the relevant criteria. As a result of a successful application we were visited in March of this year by a representative of TISUK. The assessor spent the day at the school in the classrooms alongside children and practitioners observing the quality of relationships and interactions. This included talking to the team about how they support children who may have adverse childhood experiences (ACES). 

“The assessor went on to meet with parents and hear about their experiences at the school. He also met with the Senior Leadership team to hear case studies of how we have worked therapeutically with children and families who had experienced traumatic life experiences, and find out how we have successfully put the key messages from TISUK into practice.”

Garden- Knowle West Nursery
TISUK Award win for Knowle West Nursery

In terms of the value the practitioners bring to the school, said the school: “Our team is our most valuable resource. We know that it is what ‘we’ do and who ‘we’ are that makes the biggest difference to children and families early educational experience. We know that having well trained, highly skilled staff who enable children and families to feel safe and understood is critical to them forming a positive view of the education system for the rest of their lives.

“Although we have specific Trauma Informed Practitioners who have achieved the diploma, the whole staff team is ‘Trauma Informed’ and each and every member of staff makes a positive difference to the lives of the children and families we work with.”

About the award 

The award is designed to enable schools to demonstrate that they have the highest level of Trauma Informed Practice embedded across their setting. It requires applicants to demonstrate the implementation of the following principles: Protect, Relate, Regulate and Reflect. In addition, applicants for the Trauma and Mental Health Informed Awards must have completed TISUK staff training and demonstrate the use of emotionally available adults to support children who have experienced trauma. (TISUK)

Knowle West Nursery School is the first Early Years setting and Nursery School in the country to receive this award.

Find out more about this tremendous accomplishment and to learn more about Knowle West Nursery School’s trauma-informed approach.

Main image, from left to right: Helen Hogg, Georgina Wilcox, Rachel Stoyell & Jenny McDonald