Trauma and insecure attachment behaviour in primary schools: How to respond

Written by: Shahana Knight | Published:

Some common approaches to behaviour management in schools risk triggering children’s insecure attachment. In this Best Practice Focus, Shahana Knight looks at what to do and what not to do – offering us a number of trauma-informed strategies to help vulnerable children to successfully manage their emotions

This seven-page free download is written by Headteacher Update's regular therapeutic teaching expert Shahana Knight and considers the dos and don'ts of behaviour management in classrooms and schools.

She discusses some common behaviour and punishment management approaches, why they simply do not work for children with trauma or insecure attachment, and suggests practical alternatives for teachers and schools to try.

Strategies to avoid and for which Shahana suggests alternatives include:

  • Putting pupils' names on a board when they misbehave
  • Using rewards to encourage good behaviour
  • Naughty corners or sending a pupil out of the room

The download also discusses the implications of "fight, flight and freeze" responses in young children and offers advice – and some words of warning – about how to use praise, consequences and boundaries.

This Best Practice Focus was published in September 2021 and can be downloaded by clicking the button on this page.

You can find all of Shahana's best practice articles for Headteacher Update via

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