What is resilience?

‘The single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship …. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption. They also build key capacities—such as the ability to plan, monitor, and regulate behaviour—that enable children to respond adaptively to adversity and thrive. This combination of supportive relationships, adaptive skill-building, and positive experiences is the foundation of resilience’.


Not everyone who experiences a potentially traumatic event will become psychologically traumatised. However, everyone has both the capacity to be overwhelmed by intense emotions and also to increase their resilience. A key factor in developing greater resilience is having positive and supportive relationships. Other factors include: having a positive self-image and confidence in one’s personal strengths and abilities (self-efficacy); being able to make and carry out realistic plans; an ability to manage one’s emotions and impulses in a healthy and productive manner; being able to communicate effectively and having successful problem solving skills.

Research consistently lists factors that suggest how schools may promote resilience in their pupils, especially the more vulnerable ones. These include:
having at least one trusted, familiar adult who is available to ‘hold their pupils in mind’ and develop secure attachments to them;
supporting them with basic needs such as: food, clothing, transport, and even housing;
quiet, safe spaces in school where pupils can retreat and receive support to calm down and regulate their emotions;
access to activities, hobbies and sports; support to plan out future intentions and aspirations and to develop the necessary life skills to make these a reality;
support and guidance to develop and practice problem-solving skills;
support to help others e.g. volunteering and peer mentoring; opportunities for everyone in the school and wider community to learn about attachment, trauma and resilience and where staff are caring and respectful of one another and model the behaviour they expect from their pupils using an attachment aware and trauma informed approach. (Beacon House resources)


Find out more about attachment

What is attachment and why is it important? The quality of attachment that an infant develops with a specific caregiver is largely determined by the caregiver’s response to the infant when the infant’s attachment system is ‘activated’ 


Find out more about trauma

Trauma is a psychological response to an event that a person’s nervous system perceives as life-threatening to themselves or others and which exceeds their capacity to cope with the emotions involved.


Join ARC

By joining The ARC you will become part of a growing community of schools, settings and many more who are all committed to developing best practice by sharing their learning about attachment and trauma.