Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

Attachment Research Community: Spring newsletter

23 February 2023

Message from ARC Chair, Andrew Wright

I would like to welcome you all back following the Christmas break and hope that your return to school has been a smooth and positive experience. We at ARC are always here to help support and showcase best practice, providing useful resources and self assessment tools that will help you on your professional development and the journey of your colleagues to a whole school level.

We have started 2023 with enthusiasm and with opportunities to reflect upon and discuss the modern day challenges faced by colleagues within educational settings. The digital launch of the West Midlands Trauma Informed Attachment Aware Schools Programme, was a huge success with colleagues from across the region joining with each other for a day of networking and learning with over a dozen workshops being hosted by colleagues; sharing their best practice, knowledge and advice.

The Call to Action development day saw us host a roundtable event in partnership with The National Association of Virtual School Heads (NAVSH) and The Rees Centre, and welcomed colleagues from national organisations, across the country, to discuss projects, developments and next steps that will allow us to continue campaigning for a system wide change, benefitting both our young people and work colleagues.

We are also delighted to announce the first keynote speakers of our 2023 Annual Conference, "Supporting the journey to an emotionally informed education". Following the incredible response from last years conference, we aim to continue to develop and design a comprehensive CPD accredited day for you to enjoy, learn and share.

I wish you all a restful half term break and look forward to working with you over the remainder of this academic year.

ARC 2023 Annual Conference, Tuesday 21 November 2023...
book your ticket today!

“A powerful event for those working with children who have experienced trauma.2022 ARC Annual Conference delegate

The Attachment Research Community 2023 Annual Conference: “Supporting the journey to an emotionally informed education” will take place live on Tuesday 21st November 2023 at The Birmingham Conference and Events Centre, with on demand content available following the event.

The day will discuss the realities faced by education and social care professionals in a modern day education system and how supportive approaches can both motivate and educate a workforce on their attachment and trauma journey; benefitting the emotional wellbeing and needs of the whole school.

The conference will host keynote speeches from motivational speakers, psychologists and practitioners to discuss the journey towards an 'emotionally intelligent education'. Workshops will be provided by the 2022 Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award Winners, as well as colleagues who specialise in attachment and trauma informed practices.

We are delighted to announce the first confirmed keynote speakers for this year’s annual conference. BBC broadcast journalist and presenter Ashley John-Baptiste who will be joining us live in Birmingham and providing his personal perspective on growing up within the care system. Joining virtually from the USA will be Dr Edward Tronick, a developmental and clinical psychologist who focuses on the neurobehavioral and social emotional development of infants and young children. Also joining virtually from the USA will be Dr Adam Saenz, a psychologist who returned to education and based his research on stress management, the dynamics of effective relationship building, personality assessment, and emotional intelligence. Representatives from NAVSH and The Timpson Trust will also be in attendance at the conference to provide a variety of viewpoints on the pressures faced by young people in a mixed economy and working towards the goal of providing an 'emotionally informed education' for our young people.

"It made me reflect on my own practices and approach to attachment and trauma. The keynote speakers had a wealth of experience and insight which they shared very passionately. Real people, real teachers, sharing real stories. It was also reassuring that they underpinned their views, methodologies and strategies with credible scientific evidence." - ARC 2022 Annual Conference Delegate

Book your conference ticket today

ARC 2023 Annual Conference welcomes Ashley John-Baptiste, Dr Edward Tronick and Dr Adam Saenz as keynote speakers

Ashley John-Baptiste is a young BBC broadcast journalist and presenter who has a remarkable story of how he overcame his troubled childhood to study at one of the world’s best universities.

Many will remember Ashley as the member of boy band group ‘The Risk’ who famously quit ITV’s ‘X Factor’, in order to pursue a career in media, during the live final show. However, there is more to Ashley than meets the eye…the 26 year old overcame tremendous adversity to win a place to study history at Cambridge – and then graduate with a 2.1.

Ashley grew up in South London, where he was born to a black father and a white mother and at the age of four he was taken into care. He grew up being shuttled between foster families and children’s homes and moved primary school three times. A bright student, he attended a comprehensive school which had three times the number of children from deprived backgrounds than the national average. Whilst at Cambridge, Ashley acted as a mentor to other students who grew up in care.

Ashley, tells the compelling, inspiring and sometimes humorous story of his childhood and how to your achieve goals, follow your dreams and never give up. Ashley has enormous enthusiasm and passion to use his story as a tool to motivate and propel others to face their challenges with a sense of optimism and triumph.

Before joining the BBC News TV, Radio and digital team as a reporter across all platforms, Ashley was a BBC broadcast journalist and Victoria Derbyshire reporter. Ashley was a key reporter in Russia for the Fifa 2018 World Cup. He was nominated for the Young Talent of the Year award at the 2018 RTS Television Journalism Awards.

Edward Z. Tronick is a world class researcher and teacher recognized internationally for his work on the neurobehavioral and social emotional development of infants and young children, parenting in the U.S. and other cultures, and infant-parent mental health. Over the course of his career, Dr. Tronick has co-authored and authored more than 150 scientific papers and chapters.

Dr. Tronick developed the Still-face paradigm, which has become a standard experimental paradigm for studying social emotional development in the fields of paediatrics, psychiatry, clinical and child psychology, and nursing. In his studies using the still-face he revolutionized our understanding of the emotional capacities and coping of infants and the effects of factors such as maternal anxiety and depression on infant social emotional development.

Dr. Tronick has carried out research in Zaire, Peru, and India on child rearing and development. In Zaire, in his study the Efe foragers, he discovered the most extensive naturally occurring system of multiple caretaking for foragers yet described. In his research on neurodevelopment he has demonstrated the derailing effects of in utero cocaine and heroine exposure and the effects of obstetric medication on infant, the parent and their relationship. His studies of very low birthweight infants with white matter disorder have found key modules of behaviour that are disturbed by the lesion. Recently, he and Barry Lester published the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Assessment, a standardized instrument for assessing the neurobehavioral status of the newborn.

The goals Dr. Tronick's research are to understand the nature of the process of normal and abnormal developmental processed which are embedded in the moment by moment emotional and social exchanges of infants and young children and their caregivers. Further to determine the factors from malnutrition to drug exposure to parenting to affective disorders that disrupt and derail the normal developmental process. And, to develop ways to prevent and repair developmental derailment.

The research has already produced several critical translational pieces of work. The NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale has been used to identify infants who are suffering from neurobehavioral abnormalities. The Still-face paradigm has begun to be used to identify infants whose emotional and coping capacities are compromised and to identify relational disorders in infants and parents. The multiple caretaking system found among the Efe has had implications for the caring for infants in groups. As a whole the research in part has led to the development of the Touchpoints program of intervention developed by Brazelton, and to the Infant-Parent Mental Health Program for training professionals from paediatrics, PT, OT, social work, psychiatry to work with the mental health disorders of infants, children and parents and the relational disorders of children and parents.

Dr. Adam Sáenz earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from Texas A&M University as a United States Department of Education doctoral fellow. He completed his predoctoral clinical training under a fellowship appointment to Harvard Medical School, and he has a post-doctorate in clinical psychology from the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Sáenz also earned a Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Counselling from Graduate Theological Foundation with residency at Christ Church college of Oxford University.

He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Oakwood Collaborative, the counselling and assessment clinic he founded in 2003. He consults with school systems, non-profits, and corporations internationally in the areas of emotional intelligence, self-care, and the dynamics of relationship-based learning.

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Saenz serves as a high school track and field coach, and he is a lifetime member of the Texas Track and Field Coaches Association. He is a member of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology, and he serves as a consulting psychologist to the Texas A&M Department of Athletics and to the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

Dr. Sáenz has authored multiple titles, including the best-selling, The Power of a Teacher and Relationships That Work. His most recent release, The EQ Intervention, won the Independent Publisher Association gold medal in psychology.

Book your conference ticket today

2023 Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Awards nominations are now open

The Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award recognises and celebrates best practice in attachment and trauma aware schools and settings.

All Virtual School Head Teachers are invited to nominate a school or setting from their region for each category. Short listed nominees will have their work featured on the ARC website and will be put forward for the final stage where they could be in with a chance of receiving a cash prize for their school or setting.

This award will be made to the school or setting in each category who, in the opinion of the ARC Judging Panel, has made a profound and lasting contribution to attachment and trauma aware practices. Winners will be expected to host and present their work at a regional event, in the following calendar year, where other schools can be inspired and learn from their work. They will also present this at the Annual Conference in the Autumn Term.

The Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award is open to ARC members and non-members. All nominees must be supported and nominated by their Virtual Head.

There are six categories:

Early Years
Special/PRU/Alternative Provision
Post 16

Download your nomination form here