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Page last updated: 06/06/2023

​​​​​​​​​​​​​What if the tool we had overlooked - ourselves - was the bridge into a world of possibilities, that a genuine relationship with us, perhaps acting as a buffer, could switch on the pupils 'thinking brain' and integrate it with his 'emotional brain'?"

Louise Bomber, Settling to Learn 2013

Attachment is one of the most discussed issues that impact on the emotional wellbeing and a child’s readiness to learn for children in care. It is well known that children can't learn effectively if they are preoccupied emotionally by anxieties and fears: about life at home; about friendships and bullying; about falling behind in class. Children spend around 5-6 hours a day in school, so this gives teachers a powerful opportunity to be significant attachment figures for children. When a teacher becomes secure base and safe haven the evidence is now strong that this accelerates significantly the child's learning potential as well as enhances their feelings of achievement, self-worth and social competence. 

Our Attachment Aware Schools training programme that has been developed with the Educational Psychology Service and was launched in May 2016 and reviewed in January 2020.

These are a few of the comments from the sessions:

"This has been an excellent, interesting and informative session. I was concerned this might be 'just one more initiative' when it is clearly not and will be beneficial for staff and children. Thank you"

"Thank you - part of a suite of good information from the Virtual School"

"I will talk to senior leaders at school about what I have learned. I will deliver whole school training to school staff. The resources on the memory stick are of good quality and will be very useful to use with the school team"

Training session dates - please note that the accreditation criteria changed for schools attending training from January 2020.

​Places on this training are limited and therefore initially we can only accommodate one delegate from a school.  As this popular course is always oversubscribed can you please let us know as soon as you can if you book a place and then cannot attend. 

Attachment Aware Accreditation Process from January 2020.

Attachment Awareness Accreditation for schools is organised in three phases: Bronze, Silver and Gold level. Each level has a specific criterion for schools to meet.

1st Phase – Bronze certificate:

  • Training is attended by a member of the Senior Leadership Team/SEND coordinator organised by the Virtual School and lead by the Educational Psychology Service as signposted on the Virtual School web site. Training for staff to be 2 hours

  • Attendance record with details of number attending and the roles of staff attending training.

  • Case study of a young person.

  • Pre and post audit.

  • Evaluations collated after the training.  

2nd Phase – Silver certificate:

  • School Development Plan to include Learning Objectives and Success Criteria on Attachment Awareness

  • Evidence of Induction Training for new staff (roles), attendance record with details of number attending and the roles of staff attending training.

  • Criteria for an Attachment Awareness school to be completed.

3rd Phase – Gold certificate:

  • Evaluation of Learning Objective from School Development Plan.

  • Timetable a 1hour reflection and discussion in service with staff – outcomes to be recorded.

  • Evidence of Induction Training for new staff (roles), attendance record with details of number attending and the roles of staff attending training.

  • This phase may require a visit from the Virtual School to ensure that Attachment Awareness is embedded throughout the ethos of the educational setting.

For more information please click on the below links.

Accredited Schools

Schools accredited using the new Attachment Aware Accreditation criteria (From Jan 2020):

The Belsteads School - Bronze, Silver and GOLD*

Cherry Tree Primary School - Bronze and Silver

Crays Hill Primary school - Bronze​

Great Easton C of E (VA) Primary School - Bronze

Great Leighs Primary School – Bronze

Little Waltham CEVA Primary School- Bronze

Noak Bridge Primary School – Bronze

Northlands Primary School - Bronze

Open Box Education Centre, Epping- Bronze, Silver  and GOLD*

Paxman Academy School - Bronze

Spring Meadow Primary School – Bronze and Silver

St Andrews Primary School at North Weald - Bronze

St Margaret's Prep School - Bronze

Thomas Willingale School and Nursery - Bronze, Silver and Gold*

Woodcroft Nursery School – Bronze and Silver

Wyburns Primary School – Bronze

To date over 300 professionals have attended the training, and over 50 schools have become accredited under the pre January criteria. These are:​

​Schools accredited using the previous criteria, pre January 2020 training

Alec Hunter Academy
Ashingdon Primary Academy
Baddow Hall Infant School
Bardfield Academy
Barnes Farm Infant School
Beckers Green Primary School
Belchamp St Paul Primary School
Birchanger Church of England VC Primary School
Boreham Primary School
Buttsbury Infant School
Cherry Tree Primary School, Basildon
Churchgate Church of England Primary School
Circles Alternative Education
Crays Hill Primary School
Doddinghurst CofE Junior School
Doucecroft School
Earls Colne Primary School
Elm Hall Primary
Elmwood Primary School
Engaines Primary School
Fingringhoe Primary School
Friars Grove Primary School
Gosbecks Primary School
Great Berry Primary School
Great Wakering Primary Academy
Hatfield Peverel Infants School
Hazelmere Infant School and Nursery
Hogarth Primary School
Holly Trees Primary School
Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Witham
Howbridge CofE Junior School
Iceni Academy
Ingatestone Infant School
Ingrave Johnstone Church of England Primary School
John Ray Junior School
Kents Hill Junior School
Lexden Springs School
Lincewood Primary School
Longwood Primary Academy
Lubbins park Primary Academy & Nursery
Market Field School
Mildmay Infant & Nursery School
Mildmay Junior School
Millsfields Primary School
Milwards Primary School and Nursery
Monkwick Infant School
Montgomery Infant School and Nursery
Myland Primary School
Nazeing Primary School
Northlands Primary School
Oaklands Infant School
Perryfields Infant School
Powers Hall Infant School
Ramsden Hall School
Richard de Clare School
Saffron Walden County High School
St Andrews CofE Primary School, Great Yeldham
St Andrews CofE Primary School, Halstead
St Aybyn Centre
St Margarets CofE Primary School, Toppesfield
St Thomas of Canterbury Junior School
Stewards Academy
Sunnymede Infant School
Thundersley Primary School
The Billericay School
The Willows Primary School
The Endeavour School
The Ramsey Academy, Halstead

Tollesbury School 

Trinity Road Primary School

Writtle Infant School


​It is hoped that this will increase significantly over the next few months. If you have attended the attachment training and completed the certification process please ensure you submit your evidence to​


These useful resources provide an insight and guidance on working with children and young people that are in care, or who have previously experienced trauma:

​​​​Recommended books on attachment include (click on the picture to go to the title)

  • ​Inside I'm hurting, By Louise Bomber. Worth Publishing ISBN-10: 1903269113
  • Attachment in the classroom, by Dr Heather Geddes. Worth Publishing ISBN-10: 1903269083
  • Teenagers and attachment, by Louise Bomber and others. Worth Publishing ISBN-10: 190326913X​

Improving the emotional wellbeing of children in care

The NSPCC has published a range of new resources about improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children in care. Louise Bazalgette leads on this work for NSPCC.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​