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ReLATE: Reframing Learning and Teaching Environments

The Reframing Learning and Teaching environments (ReLATE) Professional Learning model aims to build capacity in schools to implement trauma-informed and responsive practice.

The professional learning introduces a number of strategies focused on deepening participants understandings of trauma and creating a school culture of safety and wellbeing with clear links to learning outcomes and quality teaching.

ReLATE was developed in Australia by MacKillop Family Services, MacKillop Education and MacKillop Institute. The ReLATE model is a commitment, as a school community, to sustainable cultural change. At its core, ReLATE promotes transformational relationships, not only for students, but equally for school leaders, teachers and other staff who provide education and support services to children, young people and families.

In such a culture, wellbeing is understood to be the essential pre-condition for quality teaching and learning. Safe, predictable and supportive learning environments are created and maintained in classrooms where students are not just known but deeply understood. Just as importantly, school leaders and staff are supported in their professional learning and development journey as well as their wellbeing.

Since introducing the model at MacKillop Schools in Geelong and Maidstone, we have seen marked improvement in students’:

  • social and emotional wellness
  • achievement of learning goals and personal accountability
  • behaviour and emotion management
  • academic success
  • attendance

MacKillop Family Services' Institute

237 Cecil Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205

Frequently Asked Questions

Supported by congruent school policies and practice, ReLATE creates a safe, predictable school environment where students’ wellbeing and learning flourishes and teachers’ professional proficiency grows.

Establishing safe relationships is the essential first step to create a culture that acknowledges the pervasive nature of adversity and builds trust and reliability that leads to recovery and growth.

The ReLATE model has four foundational concepts:

  1. Safety
  2. A Counter-stress school environment
  3. Enhanced teaching and learning
  4. Sustainable whole school culture change

ReLATE combines contemporary educational research, social science, behavioural theory and trauma-informed principles to help schools embed practical strategies to create safe, predictable, teaching and learning environments and transformative relationships.

These elements make visible what the school does to support teachers in their professional learning and performance development, as well as what a proficient teacher does to ensure that each student flourishes in line with Australia Professional Standards for Teachers.

Since introducing the model at MacKillop Schools, we have seen marked improvement in students’:

  • social and emotional wellness
  • achievement of learning goals and personal accountability
  • behaviour and emotion management
  • academic success
  • attendance

MacKillop has two specialist schools (Geelong and Maidstone in Melbourne’s west) which use the ReLATE model. Enrolment referrals are accepted from the student’s school, Department of Education, Catholic Education Office, Department of Health and Human Services, mental health services and families.

ReLATE can be implemented across an individual school or a network of schools, inclusive of System participation over a three-year duration. We can accommodate multiple sites participating in the same Professional Learning sessions to suite your needs.

Contact The MacKillop Institute to discuss how ReLATE can support your school community.