Study type: 
Group study

Reducing Stress and Challenging Behaviour through Low Arousal

The Low Arousal approach is about creating a caring environment characterised by calm and positive expectations aiming to decrease stress and challenging behaviour.

By building your understanding of low arousal and how it can be used to manage stress, inform classroom pedagogy and underpin a whole-school approach, this training course is a truly flexible resource that can be easily adapted and personalised for different settings and circumstances.

How to use this programme

  •     Complete the units over one to two terms to drive sustainable improvements
  •     Make use of the associated reading and resources to supplement and deepen your learning.
  •     Ensure participants document their progress after units and reflect in later input sessions.


Quite often when considering how to manage behaviour, schools and educational settings have a strong focus on reactionary systems and fixed ‘medicalised’ processes.

This training course looks to change the focus of traditional approaches. By drawing on over fifty years’ worth of combined research and practical experience, it offers a unique, whole-school approach to reducing stress and challenging behaviour.

A key element of the Low Arousal approach is the notion of proactively reducing demands which are sources of stress for the individual, thus enabling individuals to engage in coping mechanisms as a means of self-regulation. This may seem counter-intuitive, especially as it can involve ‘allowing’ a person to engage in behaviour that may have formerly been viewed negatively.

Well-referenced and grounded in a strong research and practice base, this course can help transform approaches and improve outcomes for all young people.

"This excellent resource offers an innovative framework for understanding and managing stress and challenging behaviour in schools. The authors use their extensive experience to draw together key research evidence and practical insights. The materials can be used flexibly to enable all staff in schools to gain new insights and develop inclusive strategies.

As a practitioner, psychologist and academic I have known Gareth for almost ten years, and the materials reflect his extensive experience in working with autistic pupils. The materials highlight Gareth’s wealth of experience in developing individualised and inclusive approaches in a mainstream secondary school setting."      

Professor Caroline Bond, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of Manchester

For a full overview of the programme, click on the image below.

Aims and outcomes

  • Learn about the Low Arousal approach and how it can improve outcomes for young people, staff and families.
  • Understand more about stress and how we can support ourselves.
  • Improve classroom pedagogy with regard to effective feedback and metacognition.
  • Challenge thinking about whole school systems and policies.

Each unit includes

  •     Trainer notes, presentations and handouts.
  •     Resources to support implementation of new skills and continued reflection.
  •     Additional reading for further learning.