Attachment & Trauma

Attachment and Trauma Sensitive Schools Award (ATSSA)

We are very proud that we are one of the first schools in Hampshire to be awarded the bronze, silver and gold accreditations to recognise us being an Attachment and Trauma Sensitive School. This work has resulted in effective support for children experiencing complex emotional issues and strengthened the calm, happy positive learning environment for all children.

What is an attachment friendly school?

Attachment awareness in schools is aimed at helping schools to develop an ethos and school community which is attachment aware and able to provide a nurturing environment and positive relationships to promote secure attachments.

This award provides a framework of support and understanding for schools and other educational establishments within which children and young people who have experienced adversity, can heal, thrive, play, and learn. We know that sometimes as adults, we find ourselves in difficult situations and that we are not always emotionally equipped to deal with and we can repeat unhelpful patterns of behaviour from our own childhood experiences. It is estimated that 12 children in every class of 30 have experienced childhood adversity and that as a nation we all experienced trauma through the COVID 19 pandemic.

In developing our school, we first focused on our environment. We have de-cluttered our spaces and have consistency in classrooms. Providing this consistency supports the children in feeling safe and ready to learn.

We have Comfort Corners in every classroom. The areas provide a space for the children to self-regulate when they are feeling uncomfortable. In each area there is a box of sensory items as well as a social story. This story helps them to understand their uncomfortable feelings and know and learn strategies to help them regulate.

We have also provided staff training to improve consistency in the language we use with the children. Our first attention will always be focussed on positive behaviour and, when a child needs support to be reminded about their behaviour, they will be spoken to in the same way by all staff. This language is displayed throughout the school as a visual reminder for all staff and the children. Our behaviour policy explains how language is used consistently.

We have strengthened our relationships with parents and carers through Tea and Talk, Space Hoppers and workshop sessions. We have made many changes to improve our communication with our parents and carers in response to our recent parent questionnaire results. These include creating topic webs to share the children’s learning for the term, the weekly newsletter and the use of ‘Tapestry’ and ‘Dojo’ to enable parents to communicate directly with class staff.


In addition to becoming an ATSSA school, this academic year (2023-2024) we are also very pleased to be using the Stormbreak programme to help children achieve good mental and physical health through movement. This programme aims to equip children with sustainable, transferable skills and coping strategies to thrive during the complex demands of growth into adult life.

The children will be taking part in sessions as part of their class routines each week and will be encouraged to talk about their emotions and how to manage them. We want all of our children to be happy, healthy humans through taking part in fun and engaging Stormbreak activities with their classmates.

Click here to find out more about Stormbreak.

Gold Celebration Day

To celebrate receiving our Gold Attachment & Trauma Schools Award, we held a Gold Celebration Day in school – please have a look at our blog to find out more!