Relationships and Belonging

Every interaction is an opportunity to help a child / young person grow and develop:

  • We learn through interactions and relationships
  • Repeated experiences become habits
  • These become wired in our brains
  • This cycle increases the chances of us repeating these habits
  • These habits and wiring can improve and support resilience and wellbeing

 Treisman every interaction...


“Just one emotionally available adult in the school, community or home can make all the difference…


Relate graphic

This is why we beleive every school should review their behaviour policy to see just how inconsistent it may be with a relationships approach. So many behaviour polices rely on consequences including "...relational withdrawl - time out; detention; seclusion; isolation, a managed move or exclusion... If a pupil is distressed and communicating this through their behaviour surely.. (it would better) attempt to attune to and translate what they might be trying to say?" (Louise Bomber: Know Me to Teach Me) . And then create a Relationships Policy alongside / instead

Relationships Policies*

(*Increasingly referred to as Relational Policies to avoid confusion with sex and relationships policies!)

"We must get relationships on the map in school and then prioritise relationships first before anything else, yes, even the curriculum!

Nothing must ever be at the expense of our relationship with the children and young people we are alongside, Nothing".

Louise Bomber: Know Me to Teach Me (A must read, alongside the work of Paul Dix

How to Write an Outstanding Behaviour Policy - Paul Dix

Work on creating Relationships Policies is making huge strides as more and more schools and settings begin to explore Trauma Informed Practice. Both Louise Bomber and Paul Dix offer guidance / outline policies. Our colleagues in the Education Psychology Service are looking closely at how to support schools to develop relational policies.

Together for Families and the Director of Education, Kate Evan-Hughes are currently working on a Belonging Framework for schools and relational policies are being looked as part of that. 

TIS Training in Cornwall 

Practitioners who trained with Trauma Informed Schools UK will have been provided with a sample relationships policy based on the PRRR model and some additional guidance materials.

Local Examples of relational / positive behaviour policies

Some examples of work from other areas on this include:

Developing an Attachment Aware Behaviour Regulation Policy - Brighton and Hove 

PDF to download

Guidance for Developing Relational Practice and Policy - Devon 

The documents below were originally hosted by Backcock LDP UK for Devon County Council. Those links no longer exist on the web (so references in the pdf docs below won't work) but the documents provide helpful information including a useful audit tool and support plan ideas.

Guidance for Developing Relational Practice and Policy

Relational Learning: Supporting learning, development and wellbeing through relationship. (including audit tool)

Quick guide to Developing Relational Practice and Policy (2 pages - from main guidance document Appendix 1)

Page last updated: 26 April 2023

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