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Department of Education

Research projects

Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Awareness in Schools Programme

This five year research programme led by the Rees Centre is exploring the impact of ‘whole school’ attachment and trauma awareness training on experiences and outcomes for vulnerable young people.



Preliminary studies in Bath & North East Somerset, Leicestershire and Stoke-on-Trent suggested that increased awareness of attachment and trauma issues among teaching and non-teaching staff can positively influence the school environment, enhance wellbeing and ultimately improve learning and educational outcomes for vulnerable young people.

The Alex Timpson Attachment and Trauma Awareness in Schools Programme is building on these earlier studies by working with 300 schools across 26 local authorities in England.  Participating schools receive training in attachment and trauma organised through the local virtual school or educational psychology service, often accompanied by follow-on training and networking opportunities.

The aim of the Programme is to explore the impact of this training, drawing on the perspectives of staff and young people and through analysis of school data on attainment, progress, attendance and exclusion.  The overarching research questions for the Programme are:

  1. How do staff adapt their everyday practices as a result of attachment and trauma awareness training?
  2. How do schools change their policies and practices with increased understanding of attachment and trauma?
  3. Do staff and young people report changes to the school climate as a result of attachment and trauma awareness?
  4. Do young people attend better and make more progress in attachment and trauma aware schools?

The Programme is employing a mixed methods approach, using online questionnaires, interviews with staff, focus groups of young people, training observations and secondary data analysis.

A series of working papers from the Programme will be published from late 2020 onwards.  The final report will be published in October 2022.


Resources for schools and local authorities

Newsletters and factsheets based on our early findings about how schools are implementing attachment and trauma aware approaches can be found below.  There are also recordings from our webinar series, including senior school leaders talking about how their schools have changed as a result of attachment and trauma awareness.

For more information about the Programme, please e-mail us at


Former team members: Neil Harrison, Natalie Reynolds

  • Working Papers

  • Webinar Recordings

  • Programme Newsletters

  • School Factsheets

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