The Background to THRIVE
Second chance education provides a crucial opportunity for early school leavers to get back on track, strengthen skills and avoid longer-term, adverse outcomes. However, research has shown that the vast majority of those who leave mainstream educational settings have experienced traumatic or adverse life events (NEPS, 2017). Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs can include exposure to family separation, abuse or disadvantaged circumstances.
ACEs have significant consequences for learners and their school experiences, and can also pose challenges for educators. However early detection and prevention of ACEs, as well as intervention-focused services within second chance education settings have the potential to reduce the negative impact and break the intergenerational transmission of trauma and adversity.
Awareness of ACEs and a trauma-informed approach to education can help educators to develop an in-depth understanding of the post-traumatic impact of ACEs and improve outcomes for young people who have experienced them. Trauma-informed practice also recognises the impact of secondary trauma on workers and promotes the development of supportive networks and organisational environments within service systems. It has been shown that professionals within child, family and community service systems, particularly those working with vulnerable populations, are at increased risk of experiencing secondary traumatic stress and burnout (Salloum, Choib & Smith-Stover, 2018).
What will we do?
Understanding what works
* Develop a consolidated literature review building an understanding of current trauma-informed provisions in second chance education settings across the partner countries
* Conduct fieldwork with educators working with early school leavers exploring their perceptions and understandings of working with early school leavers who may have experienced trauma
Developing trauma-informed training for educators in second chance education
* Using findings from the fieldwork, together with research in neuroscience, positive psychology and trauma-sensitive education will be used to inform the development of an innovative training package for second chance educators which will strengthen capacity for trauma-sensitive education in second chance education settings and improve outcomes for early school leavers