Trauma-Informed Schooling Rethinking Learning and Teaching Environments (ReLATE)

In FY17/18, approximately 1 in 35 children received child protection services.

Evaluating the impact of the ReLATE program on the perceptions and experiences of teachers around school-based trauma-informed practices.


Although some children live in safe environments, others experience trauma that can include family violence, significant neglect and physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Ongoing trauma can negatively impact a child’s emotional development, health and wellbeing. It can also give rise to challenges for schools, such as:

  • Severe behavioral, emotional and relational concerns

  • Low and irregular attendance

  • Disengagement from the social and academic aspects of schooling

These experiences can have a considerable long-term impact on a child’s education and life outcomes, as well as the wellbeing and efficacy of their teachers.

Some key facts on this research topic are as follows:

About the project

There is currently a call for education systems to adopt trauma-informed approaches to schooling.

This has come from growing interest in – and the development of – trauma-informed programs within Australian schools. It is also a result of mounting evidence that such approaches can address the impact of trauma, increase resilience and enhance the wellbeing of vulnerable children.

In response, Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) is investigating different models of student support. Education Futures is also partnering with CEM to assess a pilot of the MacKillop Family Services’ ReLATE program, which aims to:

  • Enhance the capacity of pilot institutions to implement and sustain school-wide, trauma-informed and responsive system changes.

  • Help leaders and core staff from the three schools direct, coordinate and evaluate the implementation of the ReLATE Model.

  • Further develop pilot school teachers’ understanding of trauma-informed approaches within inclusive schools focused on safety. This will lead to stronger student engagement and attendance outcomes, as well as a better state of wellbeing for students and staff in their schools.

This pilot project began in March and will run until the end of 2019. It is being delivered by MacKillop Family Services at several Catholic primary schools across Melbourne.

Learn more

To discover more about ReLATE, read MacKillop Education’s introduction.

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Who partnered with us

The organisations and professionals involved in this partnership.



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Trauma-Informed Schooling Rethinking Learning and Teaching Environments (ReLATE)


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