International Trauma-Informed Practice Principles for Schools (ITIPPS): expert consensus of best-practice principles

Karen Martin, Madeleine Dobson, Kate Fitzgerald, Madeleine Ford, Stephan Lund, Helen Egeberg, Rebecca Walker, Helen Milroy, Keane Wheeler, Amanda Kasten-Lee, Lisa Bayly, Angela Gazey, Sarah Falconer, Monique Platell, Emily Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recognition that schools should be responsive to children who are impacted by
adversity and trauma is burgeoning internationally. However, consensus regarding
the necessary components of a trauma-informed school is lacking. This research
developed expert-informed and internationally relevant best-practice traumainformed principles for schools. A four-phase methodology included (i) identifcation of school-relevant trauma-informed practice programs, (ii) inductive thematic analysis of the main concepts underlying programs, (iii) phrasing of draft Principles and (iv) Principle revision and fnalisation via a two-round Delphi survey with international experts. Excellent agreement by experts on the importance of all Principles was achieved (round 1≥86.4%, 2≥92.3%). The fnal ‘International TraumaInformed Practice Principles for Schools’ (ITIPPS) include four Overarching (A–D) and 10 Practice Principles (1–10). Summarised, these include that the school: (A) is student focussed; (B) models compassion and generosity; (C) is understanding and responsive; (D) incorporates recognition of their First Nations peoples in the school’s ethos: (1) prioritises safety and wellbeing; (2) models positive relationships; (3) provides a positive culture and connects; (4) consults and collaborates; (5) supports vulnerable students; (6) teaches social and emotional learning; (7) provides trauma-informed practice training; (8) is predictable yet fexible; (9) identifes and nurtures strengths and (10) refects, changes and grows. The ITIPPS provide clear guidance for education sectors, schools and other settings about appropriate learning environments for children and young people impacted by trauma. Research is now underway in Western Australian schools to pilot test the feasibility and impact of using the ITIPPS within a framework (thoughtfulschools.org.au) to establish trauma-informed schools.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2023

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