Education a university for the real world

New guidelines help Australia’s vulnerable children

First published 20 March 2020

School students and children who have experienced trauma will get more support from their teachers and educators thanks to new national guidelines developed by QUT and the Australian Childhood Foundation.

The National Guidelines for Trauma-Aware Education will launch in a free online webinar on Tuesday 24 March with Dr Judith Howard from QUT’s Faculty of Education and Australian Childhood Foundation CEO Dr Joe Tucci.

Dr Howard, one of the nation’s leading experts on trauma-aware education, said that teachers and educators have an opportunity to learn more about how trauma plays a role in students’ ability to learn.

“Complex trauma impacts the brain and nervous system, which can influence students’ behaviours in the classroom, their ability to relate and emotionally regulate, and therefore their capacity to learn,” said Dr Howard.

Dr Howard’s neuroscience approach to trauma-aware education, as well as findings from her study with the Queensland Department of Education on a state-wide framework, informed the guideline’s development.

“A national framework on a trauma-aware approach to schooling can be beneficial – not only to students but also to those aiming to educate them,” said Dr Howard.

Dr Judith Howard collaborated with Australian Childhood Foundation to develop national guidelines on trauma-aware education

“We hope the guidelines will inform how schools can put in place particular processes to ensure that their staffs and structures are equipped to support students who have lived through trauma.

“Equally as important are the structures needed to support the personal and professional well-being of educators who work, day in – and day out – with these kids.”

Dr Howard said the collaboration with Australian Childhood Foundation, whose mission is to keep children safe from complex trauma, allowed her research to be translated into national guidelines that will make a real-world impact.

“The guidelines are what was needed to progress this work in Australia. Educators were so very keen for this to happen.

“Our most vulnerable and victimised young Australians are depending on us.”

Register for the free launch of the National Guidelines for Trauma-Aware Education developed by QUT and Australian Childhood Foundation on Tuesday 24 March, 11am – 12pm AEST.

Dr Howard leads professional learning opportunities on trauma-aware practice, including a free course on FutureLearn, online module and the biennial Trauma-Aware Schooling Conference.