The Attachment Research Community (ARC) held its third annual conference in Birmingham at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. This year’s theme explored "Creative approaches to attachment, improving outcomes in your setting". ARC also launched its mission for “All Schools Attachment & Trauma Aware by 2025” along with their five objectives to achieve their mission:
1. Supporting Schools to Become Attachment & Trauma Aware
2. Enhancing Existing & Potential Collaborative Communities of Support
3. Collating & Providing a National Platform for Research & Practice
4. Helping to Provide & Extend a National Voice for Attachment & Trauma
5. Recognising, Celebrating & Sharing Best Practice
Nearly 300 delegates packed the auditorium to listen to keynote speakers cover topics from guidance on exclusion, improving outcomes and how to create social change.
Dr David Colley, Chair of SEBDA & SEN/Inclusion Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, opened the conference with a presentation on exploring the contradictions in current policy and guidance around the subject of Attachment-Punishment-Exclusion. Followed by Professor Judy Sebba, Rees Centre for Research in Fostering & Education at the University of Oxford, who spoke passionately about Improving outcomes of vulnerable children and young people through changing school cultures.
The afternoon saw Lisa Cherry, Author & International Trainer, inspire the audience by talking about creating social change, one relationship at a time. Finally Sally Kelly, NAVSH Chair & Head of Inclusion at Greenwich Virtual School defined the role of the Virtual School Headteacher in supporting development of attachment aware schools.
ARC Chair Andy Wright said, “The commitment to developing a truly inclusive education system from all that attended the ARC Conference was both impressive and very encouraging. At a time where excluding children from their education setting is receiving so much attention it is exciting and reassuring to work alongside dynamic and solution-focussed colleagues. The aspiration to support all schools to become Attachment & Trauma Aware has certainly benefited from this very inspirational and informative conference.”
Delegates were also able to attend workshop throughout the day that complimented the theme of inclusion. The workshops included several schools offering support and guidance to their peers along with practitioners and professionals providing advice and unravelling theory.
After lunch a special young people’s choir, under the leadership of their inspirational teacher for the day Sarah Rivers, produced a performance that earned them a standing ovation from the audience. All the more inspirational as none of the children had ever met before and had just two hours rehearsal to put on their 15-minute performance.
The final highlight of the day and drawing the conference to a close was the presentation of the Timpson Attachment Awards, presented by Sir John Timpson himself.
Those receiving their awards were:
• Early Years Category Award Winner - Chaucer - Nominated by: Derbyshire Virtual School
• Primary Category Award Winner - Colebourne Primary School - Nominated by: Birmingham Virtual School
• Secondary Category Award Winner - Kirk Hallam - Nominated by: Derbyshire Virtual School
• Special, PRU, Alternative Category Award Winner - Sallygate School - Nominated by: Professor David Shemmings OBE PhD, Professor of Child Protection Research at University of Kent on behalf of Kent Virtual School
• Special Award, High commended - Cherry Orchard Primary School - Nominated by: Worcestershire Virtual School
The conference was followed by the Trusts Annual AGM.