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London Region
April 2024

Islington Council: Trauma -Informed Practices in Schools

Islington developed iTIPS (Islington Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools) in September 2017 and launched with a pilot group of five primary schools and one alternative provision site. Since its inception over 30 schools have taken part in the programme, and it has been extended to TinyTIPS (early years and children’s centres) and Community iTIPS (voluntary sector and partner agencies) to enable trauma-informed practice to reach a range of services.

The iTIPS Programme is a two-year school programme designed to embed trauma-informed practice via a school-wide approach to increase skillsets and capacity of staff to support pupils. It involves two days of training for all staff in the principles of a trauma informed approach in the first year, and regular contact, weekly or Schools embark on a two-year development journey. Developing an internal working group in each school works to spread practice across teams or departments in school, and supports the practice to embed as a new school ethos.

Various services work together over two years to implement the programme including CAMHS, the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Team, the Virtual School, and the School Improvement Service, 

The programme involves whole school training, regular workshops for staff and a fortnightly meeting with an iTIPS practitioner (a CAMHS clinician or educational psychologist) throughout the programme’s two years.  Together the iTIPS practitioner and school lead to develop a school action plan, which includes individual goals for the school, and a staff working group with the aim of embedding the learning from the training.  

The work is supported by the Safeguarding Childrens Board, where all partners involved have agreed to underpin their work becoming trauma informed.  This multidisciplinary shared value base enables services to work cohesively together with a common language on supporting staff well-being. This approach demonstrates to the wider staff body the commitment of the senior leadership to the trauma-informed approach and ensure a consistent and sustainable implementation of trauma-informed practice.

A key facilitator to the development journey is the relationship and regular contact with the iTIPS practitioner.  Schools have used this time to meet with the staff working group to identify the key areas for development, co-develop a script for staff when supporting pupils, and provide staff group and individual consultation and reflective practice sessions. The iTIPS practitioner also offers consultations for staff to discuss their practice and reflect on the impact of the work on them.

Termly network meetings are established between the schools on or graduated from the programme. The aim is to use this network to facilitate sustainable school change in the longer term, through supportive peer relationships and growing a practice sharing environment.

The iTIPS practitioners recognise that working with trauma-affected children can be challenging for school staff. Part of the support offered involves promoting staff wellbeing to ensure staff feel supported – not judged – by colleagues through the development of trauma informed practice. Many of the schools utilise the iTIPS practitioner to deliver staff group consultation and reflective practice sessions where aspects of the training, elements.

ITIPS is entering its sixth year of work with schools, some of the impact to date has been:

March 2024

On Tuesday 6th February, the Mayor launched London’s Inclusion Charter.  The day was led by young people from the Young People’s Action Group who shared their aspirations for an inclusive London. The audience also heard from school students about the impact of being in a Rights Respecting School – very powerful first hand testimony of how important it was to them to know and understand their rights as set out in UNCRC. You can find the Charter here. If you scroll down the page you will be able to download the Charter. Further down the page you will find a headline report from the University of Bath research which was carried out between November and January with schools across London. Finally, at the very bottom of the page is a great short film made by the Young People’s Action Group on how they used the guiding principles to write their own Charter

 At the launch, the Mayor announced that access to Rights Respecting Schools Award offered by UNICEF would be free to all state-funded education settings in London for the next four years. This is a fabulous opportunity for schools and will save those registering up to £1,500 a year (it’s normally £2 per pupil up to a maximum of £1500). In order to create a sustainable approach, we would like boroughs to establish Child Rights Schools Steering groups. You can find out more about this here.

July 2023
ARC chairman, Andrew Wright, presented to a group of Head Teachers and senior leaders at a TIAAS event hosted by Bromley Virtual School Head Teacher, Sally Kelly. This was followed up by trustee Dee Dee Roberts sharing with VS Children With Social Workers leads the membership benefits of ARC, details of the Call To Action and the TIAAS Roundtable and an overview of Learning Hubs and potentil events.