CDN Trauma-Informed College Programme

Enabling Student Success Through Enhanced Trauma-Informed Approaches

CDN are delighted to launch the ambitious new Trauma-Informed College Programme aimed at facilitating the creation of a trauma-informed culture in every college in Scotland. The programme will utilise learning from CDN’s recent Pathways from Poverty Research and the expertise of colleagues and partners across the sector to provide training, resources and interventions that will help colleges tackle the challenges faced by learners and their communities in accessing and sustaining their participation in education.

At the heart of the programme is an understanding that colleges are already leading the way in tackling educational disadvantage in our communities and in supporting all learners, including those who have lived experience of poverty and trauma, to succeed. The programme aims to build on existing good practice and to provide a range of support to colleges and college leaders to consider what further steps they need to take to develop and embed a truly traumainformed culture throughout their organisation.

Read our programme overview here

Programme Structure

There will be several complimentary strands to the programme which, in conjunction, will support the embedding of a trauma-informed culture within participating colleges. Central to the programme will be the creation of a community of college-based programme leads, who will take responsibility for cascading awareness of trauma-informed approaches within their organisation. These leads will receive a range of training and support from CDN, including a 9-week online SCQF level 5 qualification in Mental Wellbeing and Health, delivered by SMILE counselling, to support them in this work.

As well as this, all college staff will be provided with access to a short online trauma-informed training course and support resources, that will allow them to develop their awareness of trauma-informed approaches and embed them within their practice. CDN will also work with senior leadership teams within colleges by providing workshops and tailored support that will help them to plan their organisational approach to developing a trauma-informed culture, recognising that all our colleges have different contexts and are at different stages on their journey. CDN’s recently developed reflective diagnostic tool will be used to allow senior leadership teams and their programme leads to analyse the college’s current approach in this area and design an action plan that will help deliver a trauma-informed culture. This process will be facilitated by the   CDN team through the Step Forward programme of bespoke projectbased support.


Summary of Programme Strands


Mental Wellbeing and Health training for college leads


Trauma informed diagnostic tool


Senior leadership workshops


Bespoke support for institutional action plan


Online short courses for all college staff


Ongoing events to share best practice

Why join the programme?

At the heart of this programme is student wellbeing and success. In Year 1 of the programme (2023-2024), CDN will work closely with a small group of colleges to develop a trauma-informed culture at the whole-college level.

Colleges involved in this first stage of the programme will benefit from staff receiving free CPD in the form of level 5 Mental Wellbeing and Health training, as well as the opportunity to access bespoke support from CDN and share examples of good practice in this area with others in the sector. The programme offers a unique opportunity to develop a coherent whole-college response to the challenge of trauma that supports learner wellbeing, retention, and success.

How to join the programme

Colleges interested in being part of the first iteration of the programme in the 2023-2024 session are invited to express their interest to

  • Contact Us

    To find out more about the Trauma-Informed College Programme contact our team on

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  • CDN's Research and Enhancement Centre

    The Centre brings together existing research work related to Scotland’s colleges and is driving new research and enquiry in the sector

    View the Centre here