17th Jun, 2019

Forge Secondary School introduces teaching technique which is being noticed across the country

Ross Crawford 16th Sep, 2018

A HEADTEACHER has told how he could have cried with joy when he realised Ofsted inspectors ‘got’ the underlying principles of his school.

The Forge Secondary Short Stay School in Easemore Road, awarded a ‘Good’ by Ofsted, teaches many pupils excluded from other schools.

Yet it is making waves not just in Redditch or Worcestershire but across the country. So much so that even MPs sitting in the Houses of Parliament are waking up to the potential of the teaching technique it employs.

Called the Trauma Informed Approach it teaches what the Ofsted inspectors were quick to recognise – humanity.

And the results have been spectacular.

Across the UK in similar schools just 1.5 per cent of students achieve five or more GCSEs, including Maths and English, at grade C or higher or at Level 2.

At The Forge the figure is 20 per cent – up five per cent from the previous year and on a trajectory set to carry on climbing.

“Trauma Informed Approach is an American theory and it’s to do with adverse childhood experiences,” said headteacher Sean Williams who has taught at both RSA Arrow Vale and Walkwood Middle School.

It centres on the need for a responsible and emotionally available adult in a child’s development – whether it’s a parent, grandparent, sports coach or some other figure who takes a real and genuine interest in the youngster.

“When there hasn’t been anyone the results can be catastrophic.

You end up with kids like our kids,” said Sean.

“Underneath it all can be incredible loss, acts of violence or omission and yes, they can hate you, but the important thing is they know you are not going to go away.

It’s safeguarding in the truest sense of the the word.”

Having heard of the theory he applied it to The Forge, with staffing undergoing training in therapeutic parenting to help wounds in the mind.

Equally significant, and with massive implications for the rest of society, it has been found that adverse childhood experiences can not only affect the psychology of youngsters, but also their health.

“The more of these experiences you have the more likely you are to have various illnesses, like asthma, eczema, diabetes and so on and the less likely you are to show the kind of behaviour that mainstream schools need,” said Sean.

“So it’s massive – the psychology and culture around you affects your biology.

“And what’s the alternative? Give them a spanner and tell them to get on with it?”

To celebrate the Ofsted grading Councillor Pattie Hill, a governor at the school, arrange for singer Mitch Loveridge to entertain staff and students.

She said: “The youngsters, the staff, the head, every single person is committed to helping each other – and that’s marvellous.”

For more information, visit traumainformedschools.co.uk

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