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.
Attachment Aware Certification Process
Our Attachment Aware Schools training programme that has been developed with the Educational Psychology Service and was launched in May 2016. Here is a brief summary following the first tranche of training. 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"
Spring 2019 date Tuesday 5th February 2019.
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.
The process for becoming an Attachment Aware School is simple:
1. School to send a qualified teacher to the Attachment Aware School training - where Educational Psychologists 'train the trainer'
2. A pre training audit of knowledge is undertaken on all school staff, including school governors.
3. Whole-school training is undertaken, using the resources provided at the Attachment Aware training day.
4. A post training audit is undertaken.
5. A case study is written and an evaluation form completed
6. All documents are submitted to the Virtual School for evaluation and the certificate is published.
To date over 230 professionals have attended the training, and 40 schools have become accredited. These are:
Alec Hunter Academy
Ashingdon Primary Academy
Beckers Green Primary School
Belchamp St Paul Primary School
Boreham Primary School
Buttsbury Infant School
Cherry Tree Primary School, Basildon
Circles Alternative Education
Doddinghurst CofE Junior School
Earls Colne Primary School
Elm Hall Primary
Engaines Primary School
Friars Grove Primary School
Great Berry Primary School
Hazelmere Infant School and Nursery
Hogarth Primary School
Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Witham
Howbridge CofE Junior School
Ingatestone Infant School
John Ray Junior School
Lexden Springs School
Lincewood Primary School
Longwood Primary Academy
Montgomery Infant School and Nursery
Myland Primary School
Nazeing Primary 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 Margarets CofE Primary School, Toppesfield
St Thomas of Canterbury Junior School
Sunnymede Infant School
Thundersley Primary School
The Willows Primary School
The Endeavour 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 email@example.com
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.