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Relationship Policy


Duck Street, Cerne Abbas, Dorset, DT2 7LA

‘The Small School with the Big Heart.’

Tel: 01300 341319         Website:


Cerne Abbas CE VC First School Our Relationship Policy.


Date of policy                May 2023

Date reviewed by the

Governing Body

FGB 04.05.2023

Member of staff

responsible in Cerne

Abbas CE VC First School

Catherine Cresswell
Review dateMay 2024



Our vision is to be the best we can be.


We are committed to nurturing every child to thrive in a safe and engaging environment based on our Christian values of Peace, Trust, Friendship, Courage, Joy and Forgiveness. We strive to develop happy and confident learners ready to face the challenges of their next steps.




  • To create a community based on Peace, Trust,Friendship, Courage, Joy and Forgiveness.
  • To understand behaviours and meet pupils with a positive approach to mitigating undesirable behaviours
  • Provide a consistent approach to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing as well as behavior management.
  • Outline our educational practices which Protect, Regulate, Relate and Reflect.
  • Exemplify our attachment aware and trauma informed approach to behaviour.


Our school is invested in supporting the very best possible relational health between:

  • Parent and child
  • Child and child
  • Child and school staff
  • Parent and school staff
  • School staff
  • School staff and senior leads
  • School staff and external agencies.


To this end our school is committed to educational practices which Protect, Relate, Regulate and Reflect.



  • Increased ‘safety cues’ in all aspects of the school day, e.g. meet and greet as the children arrive at school in the morning.
  • Key school staff trained in ‘PACE’ modes of interaction(Hughes 2015): being warm, empathic, playful and curious (proven to shift children out of fight/flight/freeze positions) (the aim is eventually for all staff to be trained).
  • School staff ensure that interactions with children are socially engaging, not socially defensive, in order to decrease chances of children relating defensively (fight/flight/freeze).
  • A whole school commitment to cease using harsh voices, shouting, put-downs, criticisms, shaming (proven to be damaging psychologically and neurologically).
  • School will ‘interactively repair’ the occasions when they see themselves move into defensiveness.
  • The implementation of pedagogic interventions that help staff to get to know children better on an individual basis e.g. ‘I wish my teacher knew’ (what matters to them, who matters to them, their dreams and hopes). This is key to enabling children to feel safe enough to want to talk, if they so wish, about painful experiences, which are interfering with their ability to learn and quality of life.
  • All vulnerable children have easy access on a daily basis to at least one named emotionally available adult, and these children know when and where to find their adult. If the child does not wish to connect with this adult, an alternative person is found.
  • School staff adjusting expectations around vulnerable children to correspond with their developmental capabilities and experience of traumatic stress. This will include removing children in a kind, non-judgmental way from situations they are not managing well.
  • Provision for children of a clear, confidential and non-shaming system of self-referral for help/talk times.
  • The nurturing of school staff in such a way that they feel truly valued and emotionally regulated enough to be able to interact throughout the school day with social engagement rather than defensiveness.



  • Key school staff trained in emotional coaching and in relating to children in terms of the four key relational needs for secure attachment: affect attunement, empathy, soothing and containment (the aim is for all school staff to be trained).
  • A whole school commitment to enabling children to see themselves, their relationships and the world more positively, rather than through a lens of threat, danger or self-blame.
  • Relational opportunities for vulnerable children with emotionally available adults at school to enable them to make the shift from ‘blocked trust’ (not feeling psychologically safe with anyone) to trust, and from self-help to ‘help seeking’.



  • The implementation of interventions designed to bring down stress hormone levels (e.g. from toxic to tolerable) in vulnerable children, enabling them to feel calm, soothed and safe. This is to support learning, quality of life and protect against stress induced physical and mental illness now and in the future.
  • Evidence based nurturing and regulatory interventions that aim to repair psychological damage and brain damage caused by traumatic life experiences, through emotionally regulating and playful, enriched adult-child interactions.
  • The emotional wellbeing and regulating of staff is treated as high priority in order to prevent burn-out, stress related absence or leaving the profession, through stress related illness, secondary trauma and / or feeling undervalued, blamed or shamed.




  • Key staff educated in the art of good listening, dialogue, empathy and understanding (not asking lots of questions and giving lectures). The aim is for all staff to be educated.
  • Within the context of an established and trusted relationship with a member of staff children are to be provided with the means to symbolise painful life experiences through images rather than relying solely on words, should they wish to do so as a key part of ‘working through’ and memory reconsolidation. There is provision of different modes of expression for children e.g. art, play, music, emotions sheets, sandplay etc
  • PSHE informed by current research (psychology and neuroscience) on mental health, relationship health, family, parenting, intimate relationships and tools for how to do life well. Curriculum content to enable children to make informed choices about how they relate to others and how they choose to treat their brains, bodies and minds now and in the future.
  • Staff trained to help children move from ‘behaving’ their trauma/painful life experiences, to reflecting on those experiences through empathic conversation in order to address negative self-referencing and help them, to develop coherent narratives about their lives.
  • A behaviour policy that is not based on punishment but that models enquiry, resolution and interactive repair (e.g. restorative conversations).

A positive, purposeful and enthusiastic atmosphere

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