Our 2021 Virtual Conference Keynote Speakers | Laura Falconer

We are delighted to announce Royal Caledonian Education Trust Chief Executive Officer, Laura Falconer, will deliver a keynote speech during our 2021 virtual conference in November.

What’s our conference about?

Our conference is about putting trauma and trauma-informed practice into the context of children and young people from forces families and exploring the impact their unique experiences can have on mental health and wellbeing, relationships with others and future pathways in life. If we embed trauma-informed practice in our work is that enough to support Armed Forces Children and Young people? Is there anything else we should be considering? Is there anything we need to be mindful of in relation to this group of children and young people’s unique experiences Whatever your background, our conference is an opportunity to join us in this exploration and conversation.

Why another conference on trauma-informed practice?

We know that trauma can affect any one of us and that the Scottish Government’s ambition, shared by many partners, is for a trauma informed workforce and services across Scotland. At Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET), like many other organisations, we have been re-evaluating our organisational practice through a trauma lens and asking ourselves is there anything we need to take into consideration that is specific to the unique experiences of children and young people, from serving personnel, reservist and veteran families across Scotland? We have been exploring the research and listening to what our young people tell us.

About Laura Falconer

Laura is a Speech and Language Therapist by background with over thirty-three years experience of working in the field of early years, vulnerable families and children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Laura spent a significant amount of her career working in NHS Lanarkshire, managing four Localities and developing services for vulnerable children and adults, including children with autism, conduct disorder, neuro-developmental conditions and children affected by complex adversity such as mental health problems.

In 2010, Laura joined Barnardo’s and as the Assistant Director in Fife Locality, managed a wide range of family support, counselling and advocacy services, Leading for Early Years in Scotland and subsequently working as the Assistant Director for Mental Health in Scotland, leading the development of the organisations work.

Laura took up the UK-wide role of Assistant Director of Impact for Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2017, who was responsible for strategy in relation to Mental Health and Wellbeing work, which included leadership of an ambitious programme across four nations towards Barnardo’s journey to becoming a Trauma Responsive Organisation.

Laura said:

“Trauma Informed Practice agenda is about appreciating that trauma can affect all of us and understanding how all our work can be underpinned by those pillars of practice: safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment. Some of the experiences Armed Forces children and young people face could be considered traumatic. However , this does not mean all they are traumatised by their experiences of living in an Armed Forces Family.

“This year’s conference will focus on our collective level of awareness of the potential impact of some experiences, and more importantly, understanding what we can do to mitigate against the impact of difficult things happening in the live of children and young people from serving personnel or veteran families.”

Who Should Attend the Conference?

Since being trauma-informed is a national ambition within Scotland, relevant to all of us, our conference will be of interest to a wide variety of people who wish to expand upon their continual professional development; from those working within education, social care, community, armed forces and the third sector. Our virtual conference is an opportunity for professionals working with Armed Forces children, young people and families to come together, hear about and share good practice.

• Primary/secondary education
• Further/higher education
• Community/Youth/third sector
• Clinical Practitioners (Psychology/Mental Health/Social Care)
• Military Welfare Personnel
• Undergraduate/Postgraduate Students
• Policy & Development


The Conference will be held virtually this year to ensure that it can go ahead safely due to the ever-changing situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For further information about our virtual conference, please email conference@rcet.org.uk