Wednesday, August 3, 2022

I have seen lots of feedback from schools across the UK and US demonstrating a reduction in exclusion rates following adoption of Trauma-informed Practice (once such example can be found on this page here).

We know the approach works in that respect, but the exact link between the kind of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that have the potential to cause trauma and said exclusions has often been assumed but, to my knowledge, never directly researched - until now.

The Pierce et al. (2022) study here demonstrates strong correlations between early years ACEs (>5-years-old) and later school suspensions/expulsions.

The difference is stark - whereas 7% of students who had experienced 0 out of 8 ACEs shown had been excluded, the figure rose to 33% for those with 4+. See the graph below for a breakdown of the sample vs weighted mean.



More research is needed, especially as this study didn't include some common ACEs (e.g. parental separation). But now at last we can start to point to more direct justifications for Trauma-informed Practice for an outcome that many schools see as a priority to focus on.



Aidan Phillips is Trauma-informed Communities Project Manager at WAVE Trust.


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