St. Mary’s is proud to have become an ‘Attachment Aware School’. We have successfully completed the year-long programme led by Derbyshire Virtual School. Supporting all of our young people, but especially our most vulnerable pupils lies at the heart of our school vision. We believe a greater understanding of children with unmet attachment needs and how to support them will enhance their experience of school and enable them to achieve their God-given potential.

Participation in the programme required an action-based research project to be developed in school, and we have focused on creating a calm and quiet space for our most vulnerable pupils who struggle with the demands of a busy school at times. The environment has a profound impact on how we all react and behave, but this is intensified for vulnerable youngsters who cannot self-regulate their emotions. We have worked with a group of staff and a cross-section of pupils to redesign the allotment area near the top car park. This project has been informed by the training key staff received and a number of surveys on the environment and how it impacts on our pupils. The surveys from both staff and pupils overwhelming stated that an outside space with close links to nature would be considered a safe and calming environment. This is supported by a wealth of research in attachment theory and the environment.

Mrs Rosling and the SEN Department are leading this project with support from a number of other colleagues, and a lot of hard work has taken place already. We have a modest bursary to invest in the area, and we hope to create a calming and pleasant retreat for both staff and pupils to access. There is much to be done, so if you feel that you would like to donate practical items needed or even garden centre vouchers, we would welcome them gladly! Please contact Mrs Rosling or Miss McKay if you are able to support us.

If you are interested in learning more about attachment theory and how it impacts on our students, please follow the links below:

Attachment Aware in Schools

The ARC – Attachment Aware schools

The Attachment Theory – How Childhood Trauma Affects Your Life

“Attachment Aware Schools value the role of relationships, and place these at the heart of good teaching and learning”­