Reducing barriers to learning.
Do your pupils feel safe? Do they have a safe space in school if they need it?
Ask your pupils what their safe place is. Does your provision match the needs of the child/young person? Are agencies working within a space that is appropriate when discussing sensitive issues with children and young people?
Attachment Aware Schools Programme
Attachment awareness in schools is aimed at helping schools to develop an ethos and school community which is attachment aware and able to provide a nurturing environment and positive relationships to promote secure attachments.
By developing an understanding of attachment theory, practitioners are able to apply this knowledge to their own practice for the benefit of all pupils; in particular those with attachment difficulties and other vulnerable learners.
This can help to improve attainment, behaviour and overall wellbeing for both pupils and staff. It certainly does not seek to turn teachers into therapists, but rather to emphasise the importance of understanding the emotional and learning needs of their pupils, which is what we suggest good teaching is about.
One of the most important factors when recognising and responding to a child with attachment issues is to understand how that child is feeling. Recent advances in neuroscience have confirmed Bowlby’s theory, demonstrating the connections between emotion, social functioning and the priority of attachment.
While the school itself cannot replace an insecure attachment with the primary care-giver it can offer a secure base, a place of safety and attachment – like relationships with trusted adults who can help the young person through the day. Moreover, recent research suggests that approximately one third of children have an insecure attachment with at least one care - giver, and one in four have experienced a trauma event which has resulted in behavioural/ emotional disturbance. This means, in effect, that an attachment-aware approach to teaching which recognises the importance of emotions will benefit all members of the class. Indeed, there is growing evidence that such approaches also reduce stress among teaching staff; in turn reducing absenteeism, improving continuity of learning experience, and ultimately overall school attainment.
The Derbyshire Virtual School has created an exciting training opportunity to develop all of our understanding around promoting secure attachments in schools, whilst also recognising the behaviours and issues that can arise from (poor) attachment difficulties in early life: thus enabling all of us to create even safer and more nurturing learning environments for children in care and all vulnerable learners.
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