ABI Aware School – Award

ABI Aware School - Award

We’re have currently put a pause on the ABI Aware School Award in 2023, however if you would be interested in enrolling with us next year, please feel free to contact us via learning@cbituk.org

Have a read below for more information about what it entails…

The prevalence of ABI is higher than you may originally have thought of; a child can acquire a brain injury as a result of accidents (not just road traffic, but tragic events like near drowning, or assaults), illnesses such as childhood encephalitis, epilepsy or meningitis, tumours, poisoning (including drugs and alcohol), non-accidental injury (“shaken baby”), and of course concussion which is a traumatic head injury and can occasionally cause long lasting difficulties.

Most children affected by acquired brain injury (ABI) will return to mainstream education. School is where the majority of their rehabilitation takes place, but currently so few teachers, SENCO’s, Support for Learning and Inclusion practitioners who have any knowledge of this specialist area of SEN. Acquired brain injury is more prevalent than many other areas of special educational needs; such Autistic Spectrum Conditions, ADHD, Learning Disabilities etc.

Parents are now able to make a choice about which school they wish their child to attend. Therefore it makes sense that as a parent or guardian of a child affected by ABI, they may want to choose a school where they can be confident that their child’s needs can be fully understood and met.

Following the recommendations made in the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury: ‘Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation: Time for Change”, the National Acquired Brain Injury in Learning and Education Syndicate (N-ABLES) was established.  The purpose of the group is to ensure all children and young people with an acquired brain injury (ABI) receive the support they need to maximise their educational potential. The ABI Aware School Award directly supports two of the strategic aims of the Group:

  • Identify and share good practice in support of the education of children and young people with an ABI.
  • Increase awareness and understanding of ABI within the education system

To view more information about N-ABLES and their aims please click here.

By engaging with the Award, your school is supporting the strategic aims identified by the All-Party Parliamentary Group

Aim of the Award

The Child Brain Injury Trust and Eden Dora Trust hope that by working towards this Award, participating schools/Academy Trusts will broaden their knowledge and achieve best practice around the hidden disability of acquired brain injury (ABI) including childhood encephalitis. ABI’s are injuries that take place after birth and after a period of normal development.

To learn more about Childhood Encephalitis please click here to go to the Eden Dora Trust for children with encephalitis who we are working collaboratively with on this Award.

Working towards this award will additionally provide a wealth of information and learning for all staff within your school on the topic of ABI and childhood encephalitis.

We hope you will see how comprehensive the Award is and that those schools who gain the award have been “quality assured” by an organisation that has been supporting children, young people and their families since 1991.

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How does it work?

The award is broken down into seven Elements where Schools/Academy Trusts must provide evidence to meet the 39 individual criterion that we have specified. The Elements that schools will be assessed on are:

Element 1 – Leadership and Management

This element requires schools to have a whole school approach to supporting ABI, and policies are person centred. It also requires schools to work closely with families to maintain optimum support levels

Element 2 – Awareness, Understanding and Prevention

Awareness and understanding of ABI, how it manifests, the behavioural outcomes and how to support specific needs are imperative to supporting a child affected by ABI.  This Element focusses on training to both prevent and support ABI.

Element 3 ­ – Identification and Support

This element has two aspects – helping to identify those children who may have an ABI who as yet have not been given a diagnosis, or have been misdiagnosed as having ADHD, Autistic spectrum disorders and other learning difficulties.  It is also about how well the school is able to support the specific needs of children affected by ABI.

Element 4 – Learner Environment

Children affected by ABI can be very easily over stimulated and require the right environment and resources to help them succeed; this element aims to ensure this happens.

Element 5 – Family Support and Communication

We know that ABI can affect the entire family and it is important that the school maintain an open dialogue with parents/guardians/carers so that the strategies to help support and learn can be consistent over school and home.

Element 6 – Transition/Return

We know how important it is that school manage the return to education, or transition to a new Key Stage or school for children and young people affected by ABI.  This element makes sure that the ABI Aware School has all the right policies and support in place to aid a smooth transition.

Element 7 – Local Support Information Pack

Most areas will have a “Local Offer” that schools can access for further support through a range of therapeutic practitioners and resources in their area. For this Element school must also produce this information pack to signpost families to the myriad of services, support groups and social opportunities that a family may need for their child affected by ABI.

What do schools/Academy Trust’s receive if they are successful?

During the period of preparation to submit evidence for assessment, all staff will have the opportunity to receive training on ABI and how it affects a pupil’s learning and behaviour. The training includes over 8 hours of online learning, a virtual training Workshop and pre-prepared lesson plans across KS2 and KS3, all without charge. All training is CPD certified and participants will receive a minimum of 5.5 hours CPD.

As well as an abundance of free training, each school be recognised as being ABI Aware, and will be registered on our ABI Aware Schools Directory.  They will also receive a Certificate of Attainment, and a number of resources that are not generally available to schools.

How much will it cost?

There will be no charge for state schools to apply to become an “ABI Aware School”; the priority for the Child Brain Injury Trust and Eden Dora Trust is to increase awareness and provide knowledge and support that enables any young person affected by ABI to get the best possible support in education, and help them achieve their full potential.

Any schools who require onsite support visits or assessment may be charged a fee of £75, plus travel and accommodation. The Child Brain Injury Trust has virtual meeting software, so a site visit may not be necessary. Please speak to the team and they can advise you.

Who can apply?

Any KS2 or KS3 school/Academy Trust may apply to work towards the ABI Aware School Award. Schools will receive an Application and Information Pack which they must complete in full and gather evidence against each of the seven Elements that the Award covers, this will include training and awareness for all school staff and pupils. Once schools are ready to submit their application, they will inform the Award Assessor who will request they submit their Application for initial review (this gives schools the opportunity to rectify any obvious errors or omissions in their Application before final Assessment is made).

A final Assessment of the application may be arranged once it has been reviewed.  During the assessment visit/virtual meeting the Assessor will speak with a small number of staff and pupils to gain anecdotal evidence of the schools commitment to being an ABI Aware School.  Evidence gathered on the day and the review/scoring of the application will be completed away from school. Participating schools will receive the outcome of their Assessment and feedback within a maximum of 4 weeks from the date of their assessment.

Time frame

Your school/Academy Trust will be given up to 9 months submit an application from the date that the Award Pack is sent. This will give sufficient time to complete the evidence gathering, training and any required changes in policy/practice.

If you would like to be recognised an ABI Aware School, please submit the online form below to receive your Application Pack or if you have any questions please email learning@cbituk.org, or call us on 01869 341075.

If you would like to know more about the Eden Dora Trust for Children with Encephalitis, please click here


1. Why are the Eden Dora Trust involved with the Award?

The Eden Dora Trust for Children with Encephalitis have kindly funded the development of this award, and worked collaboratively to ensure it is fit for purpose.  One of the Eden Dora Trust’s key aims is to support initiatives that help to raise awareness of childhood encephalitis and ABI by providing the much needed funding for project such as this.

2. Why does my school need this award?

With wider school choice for parents and guardians of children and young people affected by ABI, parents can be reassured that your school knows and understand about the issues of supporting a child in school after an accident or illness that has affected their ability to learn and thrive in school.

3. What benefit is there for staff?

As part of the work toward gaining accreditation as an ABI Aware School, there is a unique opportunity for all staff to become aware of this very hidden disability, via online and face to face training sessions, that are provided without charge.  Most of the training is accredited by The CPD Service and will count towards and continuing professional development requirements staff may have.

4. How will people know we are an ABI Aware School?

Your school will be provided with a certificate to indicate your success and the school will also be on the register of ABI Aware Schools which is openly available on our website and widely publicised on social media. https://childbraininjurytrust.org.uk/abi-aware-schools-award/directory-of-abi-aware-schools/

5. Is there a lot of work involved?

Most of the Criterion that schools have to evidence to attain the Award will be policies and practice that are already in place as part of your school and/or SEN policies.  We are simply asking you to ensure that you think about pupils affected by ABI within these practices and policies. One member of staff, perhaps the SENCO, Support for Learning Manager or Inclusion/Safeguarding Lead will usually lead on the evidence gathering and record all training that takes place, so there will be a small additional workload for this person, but the benefits will be outweighed by the gain in understanding and ability to support.

6. What support will the school have?

Our aim is to help you gain the award not prevent you from it!

The Child brain Injury Trust and the Eden Dora Trust are committed to this Award, and the Learning Team at the Child Brain Injury Trust are here to support you all the way.  We are available to answer any queries you may have or provide advice when needed.  Email learning@cbituk.org or telephone 01869 341075.

7. What if someone leaves the education team after we gain the award?

All we ask is that within three months of the post being replaced, the new incumbent undertakes the necessary learning to allow the school to retain their Award.