The TRUST Programme
Dear Colleagues, Professionals and Parents
Thank you for reading this article.
The last two years have been incredibly hard for many students and families. There is a noticeable rise in anxiety and mental health concerns in children and families and this has lead to some barriers in engagement. With increasingly high demands placed upon the health services in Northants, we have looked to provide a nature-based experience for children, families and school based staff.
The TRUST programme.
Together, with ALP tuition and the Courteenhall Estate, we have written a programme that offers an effective, affordable, nature-based provision-proved to help and support children and families with anxiety and trauma. The TRUST Programme puts the child at the centre, truly supports parents and carers, and ensures that schools use trauma-informed strategies to engage all children in their learning.
For schools, this means potential for:
- improved engagement and attendance,
- fewer fixed term exclusions,
- improved behaviour and attitude to learning,
- and ultimately, accelerated progress
For families, this means:
- reduced anxiety,
- improved relationships,
- greater understanding,
- clear boundaries with
- nurture and fun
The TRUST programme really is unique in the way that it triangulates the support and work between the pupil, the home/family and provides the school with strategies and CPD to use within the setting.
The Trust approach….
- Is a holistic view, child, parent/carer and teacher
- Addresses anxiety and trauma, rather than SEN or other vulnerability
- Has been shown to impact on attendance, fixed term exclusions, behaviour, progress and wellbeing of the child
- Provides strategies that show impact on the wellbeing of staff and families
- Is actively based in nature: plants and animals
- Embeds the “field to fork” principles-showing links to the world around us
- Promotes physical fitness and wellbeing-embedded throughout the programme
The 5 key elements of the TRUST Programme?
- Understanding and empathy
Research shows that children who can demonstrate skill in the 5 identified areas of the TRUST Programme:
- learn better
- have improved mental health and wellbeing
- have improved relationships
- have higher aspirations
- are more independent
Children are offered opportunities to develop 5 key skills whilst participating in engaging, nature-based activities. These activities can be selected from an extensive menu and include amongst many activities: exploring the grounds and investigating the history of the Courteenhall estate, growing and gardening, art, crafts, den-building, pond-dipping, and yoga. Every session includes learning self-regulation techniques and walking and talking through feelings and emotions-leading to self-understanding and greater openness. All under the guidance and support of trained and experienced practitioners-leading each session.
At pre and post meetings, parents have opportunities to discuss their concerns and will have the opportunity to look at techniques relating to the 5 key areas of the TRUST Programme. This includes support with behaviour management, nurture, and self-regulation to improve connectedness.
Staff will be introduced to trauma-informed practise by investigating the 5 key areas of the TRUST Programme. They will identify strategies to use in the school and classroom to improve engagement and be given information to support the development of similar approaches in your settings if required.
Courteenhall Estate sits in the heart of Northamptonshire and strives, not only for sustainable solutions to farming and land management, but also invests in local people, to make a positive difference. Managing Partner, Johnny Wake is determined that Courteenhall promotes a positive impact on the life chances of local children and their families, and we are incredibly fortunate to be able to make use of this safe, natural, remote, inspirational and special place.
Selected groups of 5 key stage 1 or 2 children from your schools are offered opportunities (5 days, over 5 weeks), to develop the 5 key skills whilst participating in engaging, nature-based activities. These activities can be selected from an extensive menu and are agreed and arranged with the school staff/leadership prior to starting the programme.
Every session includes learning self-regulation techniques and Yoga/meditation with an accredited trainer. Whilst learning about themselves, children will learn about the sustainable farming principles that are promoted at Courteenhall Estate, as well as learning from the people who work there. They will be immersed in nature, whilst learning nurture skills, as they help to look after the plants and animals around them.
The programme has now run for a year. We know of the high need for this kind of intervention in educational settings across the county. Whilst there are other provisions available-this is the only one that takes a holistic approach -triangulating the participation and input between the child, parent/carer and school staff. Not only does this support the child, but also the parent/carer and provides the school with quality CPD for staff. We are now working with a few schools-gaining further data and positive feedback-we are now looking forward to meeting more settings and establishing the TRUST programme within the county. The cost for the next year is heavily subsidised by Roade Primary School and The Courteenhall Estate, and to schools is £730. We have also developed a 2 part staff training package which includes one 2 hour staff meeting and 1 full day outdoors, please contact the school for more details on 01604 862309.
As a school you will receive before and after data to demonstrate progress and impact against the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the TRUST assessment. The accompanying adult will receive 5 days of trauma informed CPD to help impact back in school. All risk assessments are in place and all health and safety measures have been addressed though our partners at Plumsun.
Further information is available at the TRUST website here:
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We have piloted the programme here at Roade Primary School over the last year and it has proved to be phenomenally successful, it is now time to roll the programme out to other settings and engage with more children in more schools. We are currently showcasing the programme to key leaders within Northamptonshire, who are really enthusiastic about the project. If you are interested in discussing the programme further, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We have a limited number of places for school bookings in our first year at the reduced rate.
Your time is very precious, thank you for reading this, we hope it is of interest to you and your school team.
Roade Primary School contacts:
Phone number: 01604 862309
I hope you and your schools continue to thrive and have an incredible year, we look forward to hearing form interested school leaders to be able to provide more information.
Staff TRUST training day 2022
This was the second of our Roade Primary School teacher training days at Courteenhall. There are many reasons why the strong relationship between The Courteenhall Estate and our school are so important. Through the inspiration of the Estate and the surrounding countryside we have created our programme to meet the needs of all our pupils and be fully inclusive and fully trauma informed.
We have been collaborating with Alex Preston of ALP tuition who has designed a programme that supports children and young people in overcoming anxiety and leads the way in breaking down barriers to greater learning and progress in school.
The benefits of working in nature, the outdoors and fresh air are now more than ever at the forefront of our practise with our children. We know that our young people need to be outside and take their learning further into the great outdoors. Where better than the fantastic grounds of the Courteenhall Estate? Our children will have the opportunity to experience the estate for its artistic beauty, scientific diversity and powerful history. Children get to visit, ask questions about the Estate, to see the aspects of everyday life, meet the animals and the Estate team who are always keen to talk to the children about what they are doing! All aspects of the curriculum can be brought to life with some creative flair-and that’s exciting for both teacher and children.
The other reason for being outdoors at Courteenhal is in response to the pandemic and the rise in anxiety and childhood trauma. The last two years have been incredibly hard for many students and families. There is a noticeable rise in anxiety and mental health concerns in children and families and this can lead to some barriers in school engagement. With increasingly high demands placed upon the health services in Northants, we have looked to provide a nature-based experience for children, families and school based staff. With Alex leading the way, the TRUST programme was born.
The young people are encouraged to use their (TRUST) Trying, Resilience, Understanding and empathy, Self-regulation and Teamwork to achieve in a number of different activities-perhaps pushing themselves to do thing they never though they could do.
By putting the elements of the TRUST program at the centre of our curriculum, by becoming a trauma informed school, by using the great outdoors and the Courteenhall Estate we hope our children will experience exciting learning, have improved mental health and wellbeing, have improved relationships, have higher aspirations and become more independent.
Huge thanks to the Courteenhall estate team for allowing us to use the grounds and to Alex Preston for her inspiration. We have had two wonderful and very thought provoking training days at Courteenhall this year and we cannot wait to put it all into practice throughout the new term. The TRUST Programme is now fully embedded in the School Development Plan, and we pride ourselves on our trauma-informed ethos.