Our work is based on Attachment Theory principles.
Attachment theory is centered on the emotional bonds between people and suggests that our earliest attachments can leave a lasting mark on our lives. Some children do not have experiences in early life that help prepare them for the uncertainties that come with developing into independent people. They have difficulty forming strong and sustainable relationships and can be suspicious of the people around them. Attachment Theory helps us to understand the reasons for this and underpins the approach we take. For most children who attend our school, their early experiences have not been positive. There has been frequent disruption which has left them with an inability to feel secure in their relationships with adults.
At the Southover Partnership we strive to address the difficulties and barriers to learning children have experienced. We focus on the social and emotional needs of our children, as well as academic expectations, in order that we can gain a better understanding of what motivates and inspires them. Our children are each allocated a key worker, who will work with them to build a relationship. This enables the child to form an attachment, based on trust, with someone who will focus on supporting them to overcome the difficulties they face in a learning environment. The rationale of Attachment Theory is to understand the barriers that exist to learning for our children and to support them in overcoming these.
We particularly value the work of James Wetz (2009) in our approach, who identifies the following issues that children may experience in school as a result of experiencing bad attachment in early childhood:
- Lack of resilience in managing school.
- Lack of safe, consistent and reliable support, where school is experienced as a place of regulation, fear and violence, rather than a place of community.
- Discontinuity with multiple changes in family and school settings and lack of permanence in relationships to provide a sense of being noticed and known.
- A feeling of isolation both at home and at school.
- The loss of significant others in their lives and a hurt, so often unexpressed.
Wetz, James (2009) Urban Village Schools, London, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation