‘My brain’s all shaky’

Today’s children have a lot on their minds – and this concoction of stress, trauma and over-stimulation can have a destructive impact on learning and behaviour. Now, one Scottish local authority is tackling this issue head-on, using neuroscience and trauma research to create calming learning environments and safe spaces where anxious children can take refuge. Henry Hepburn investigates how Clackmannanshire has become an international pioneer in pupil wellbeing

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There was one classroom in Park Primary School where children never seemed to settle. No matter the class, no matter the teacher, every year it was the same: the P1s who used this room just weren’t as productive and at ease as they were elsewhere in the Alloa school.

“It was always a jumpy classroom – and they couldn’t work out why,” says Clackmannanshire Council educational psychologist Lesley Taylor.

Last year, staff finally got to the bottom of what was bothering the P1s. There was a big window overlooking the path along which parents arrived and left on the school run each day. That sight ...

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