Towards the end of 2020 The Attachment Research Community (ARC) hosted their full CPD accredited annual conference on a virtual platform in its efforts to continue to support and guide the education community safely. Attendees heard from big names in the field of attachment aware and trauma informed practices, including Professor Barry Carpenter, Paul Dix and Kim Golding.
2020 saw the whole country adapting to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy. Therefore, when schools and settings returned back to school in September, the Attachment Research Community wanted to provide strategies and practices that could support this transition for staff and children. On the 24th November ARC hosted it’s fifth annual conference on a bespoke virtual platform. Over 300 teachers, headteachers, virtual school heads, educational psychologists, representatives from the NHS and Ofsted logged in to take full advantage of all the content provided.
The day started with a message from Sir John Timpson who addressed the winners for the Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award. The Award celebrates attachment and trauma informed Best Practices in schools and settings. All the winners impressed the judges with how they had implemented whole school approaches and how it had improved results across the school for their young people. They showcased how they had adapted during the pandemic to ensure they continued to provide the much needed emotional and mental health support to their communities.
The morning continued with keynote presentations from Paul Dix and Professor Barry Carpenter. Both connected via video link, attendees were able to ask the speakers about how to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on education and what mechanisms could be implemented in schools to ensure children and young people continue to be educated in a safe, secure and happy environment. Professor Barry Carpenter talked in depth about his recovery curriculum while Paul Dix highlighted that there has never been a more important moment for adults to change and provided some proven techniques to engage staff and young people, which in turn creates a caring and secure environment within schools.
After a short break, attendees were then able to listen to a panel of professional which consisted of teachers, senior leaders, educational psychologists and researchers. They delved into discussions around the importance of attachment aware and trauma informed practices, from all different perspectives and gave real life examples of how it has worked within their settings. They highlighted how attachment awareness should not be ignored and the benefits of using attachment theory within a setting.
The day also consisted of several smaller group sessions where attendees heard from the 2019 Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award winners about how they have implemented attachment aware and trauma informed practices into their schools or settings, their challenges, successes and how they engaged their children and staff in improving their environment and learning. Attendees were also able to experience a session on behavioural policy and Dr Pooky Knightsmith provided a workshop on how using the SWAN (Safe, Warm, All together & Nurturing) framework can support a safe and successful return to school.
Kim Golding closed the main stage with a keynote around the impact of attachment and trauma in the classroom and the impact it has on a child’s development. She stressed that without these practices it can compromise a child’s ability to be successful in the classroom.
Andrew Wright, ARC Chair, says; “We have had some amazing feedback and examples of how leaders have taken back their learnings from the day and have already implemented some of the theories and practices within their whole school and setting. We are so grateful that we were able to still provide this much-needed support during an extremely difficult time. The topics that were covered will allow for schools and children to recover effectively even in the midst of another lockdown.
We continue to celebrate and showcase best practice with the opening of the 2021 Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award. Schools and settings can be nominated to win £1000 to continue their attachment and trauma informed practices and help share their learnings with their wider community. We also continue to develop the support for our front-line workers in education so they can provide the care and education that our young people so need”.
To find out more about ARC or the Alex Timpson ARC Attachment award, please visit the ARC Award Page - click here