Attachment Leads in Schools

‘Relationships are the vehicle towards adaption and recovery’

What is an Attachment Lead?

An Attachment Lead is someone who advocates for pupils who have experienced significant relational traumas and losses in their lives to dates. These pupils need an Attachment Aware approach to support them in their learning rather than the usual traditional approach mainly used in most schools. Relational interventions are necessary for these pupils to be in a position to thrive in school.

There are two types of Attachment Lead in school. There is the Strategic Attachment Lead and the Attachment Lead Key Adult.

At present there is a 7 day modular course run over an academic year that can be undertaken by both members of staff to ensure they have a thorough understanding of the impact of developmental trauma and loss upon a pupil, can undertake thorough assessments and develop appropriate individual development plans over a 2/3 year period.

They are also given the resources necessary to deliver INSET training to their own school staff to ensure everyone is on board. Local authorities do buy this in for clusters of schools in their areas. However individual schools interested can access places on these courses too as they are hosted regularly on a national level by both Adoption Plus in Milton Keynes and The Yellow Kite in Brighton & Hove. Check the training link on this website.

The Strategic Attachment Lead

This is usually someone in a leadership position within a school. Those with titles such as SENCO/INCO/Designated Person/Assistant Head are encouraged to take up this important role. Their role is to ensure that developmental trauma and loss is considered in all policy making and decisions made within the school.

They ensure Attachment aware principles are used in supporting troubled pupils.

They are in effect an advocate for pupils who might otherwise be at risk of being misunderstood within the relatively secure system of the school set up. 

The Attachment Lead Key Adult

This is usually someone who provides a supportive role in school engaging in individual relationships with pupils.

Those who are ELSAs, teaching assistants or mentors are usually encouraged to take up this role. Those staff who are especially interested in the links between emotional wellbeing and learning are chosen to become additional attachment figures in the school context. Genuine relationships with troubled pupils are facilitated and protected.

Those engaging in this work get alongside pupils for 2-3 years minimum to support the pupil’s need for permanency.

Attachment aware principles are used within the support and individual development plans are created and followed.

The main aim of the work is to settle troubled pupils to learn through paying attention to the attachment system of the pupil so that they are freed up to engage in their exploratory system. These lead staff also model to and support other school staff – especially other KAs  in engaging in appropriate care alongside troubled pupils by providing consultation and supervision to them.



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