Redefining Education: The Centre of Excellence in Child Trauma (CoECT) calls for empathy and inclusivity in classrooms

As the UK welcomes the new academic year, the Centre of Excellence in Child Trauma (CoECT) is raising awareness of the importance of an educational system that robustly supports neuro-diverse children. Highlighting the educational transition as more than an academic phase, the CoECT is stressing the need for greater understanding and inclusivity in schools.

This call to action follows the much-acclaimed recent release of the ‘The A-Z of Trauma-Informed Teaching’, which swiftly achieved the number one bestseller status in two categories. The book was eagerly awaited in the education sector, following the trailblazing success of the ‘A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting’, and provides strategies and solutions to help with behaviour and support for children aged 3-11.

Sarah Naish, CEO and founder of the Centre for Excellence in Child Trauma (CeECT) and parent to five adopted children, said: “The rising consciousness about adverse childhood experiences, within educational frameworks, is evident, and though commendable strides have been made in educator training on trauma and neurodiversity, the depth and tailored approach of this training still fall short of the mark.

“With so many educational settings battling an assortment of challenges, the focus on traditional academic outcomes sometimes sidelines the necessity to address the core reasons behind a child’s behaviour.”

Sair Penna, Director of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NATP), which sits under the CoECT umbrella, said: “Our education system ought to be every child’s refuge. The significance of cultivating foundational self-regulation skills, pivotal for emotional wellbeing and efficient learning, is sadly underrated.”

The CoECT believes that the cornerstone of understanding children’s needs is deeply rooted in empathy. By fostering genuine relationships and immersing ourselves in their world, we gain insights into the pupils and their families.

Recognising that some children might find traditional school settings challenging, alternatives like Education Other than at School (EOTAS) become indispensable. Sair adds: “Personalised learning can be the key to revealing a child’s hidden capabilities.”

This year’s CoECT conference, ‘Meeting the Needs of Neuro-Diverse Children in Education’, taking place on 19th October in Coventry, will be an immersive experience into the world of trauma-informed teaching. It will serve as a platform where experts, educators, and parents can come together to explore innovative approaches in supporting neuro-diverse children.

The conference will be based on the ‘The A-Z of Trauma-Informed Teaching’, and will feature thought-provoking sessions, workshops, and discussions led by the authors themselves who have extensive first-hand experience and profound knowledge from teaching and supporting children with developmental trauma and attachment difficulties:

  • Sarah Naish is CEO and founder of the Centre for Excellence in Child Trauma (CeECT), best-selling Author (including A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting) and parent to five adopted children
  • Sair Penna is Director of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NATP) and works within the CoECT, supporting the delivery of education, training, resources, peer support and therapeutic support to families who care for neurodivergent children and children who have experienced trauma
  • Anne Oakley is the Strategic Lead for Attachment and Trauma at The Wensum Trust but also supports Norfolk schools
  • Hannah O’Brien is founder and CEO of Wickselm House Alternative Learning Centre, which is supported by the CoECT
  • Daniel Thrower is CEO of The Wensum Trust which runs 13 trauma-informed schools in Norfolk

It will be an opportunity for educators to expand their toolkit and for parents to connect with professionals who share their commitment to creating a safe and nurturing learning environment.

Sarah Naish commented: “It’s our collective mission to revolutionise the educational landscape. The era for embracing empathy and inclusivity is well and truly here. Let’s ensure every child is valued and understood.”

For more information on the CoECT:, and to learn more about the conference, please visit: