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Highfields School scoops prestigious national award

Highfields School has scooped the prestigious Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award 2023 for helping vulnerable pupils to thrive.


The award celebrates best practice in attachment and trauma-aware schools and settings, and recognises those that have made a profound and lasting contribution to attachment and trauma-aware practices.


Attachment issues are sometimes experienced by children who have had difficulties early in life, and can make it hard for them to form healthy relationships and cope with the demands of school. Attachment-aware schools are sensitive to these difficulties and very skilled in helping vulnerable children to thrive.


The school was nominated for the award by the Wolverhampton Virtual School, which monitors and promotes the educational progress and achievement of children in care in the city.


Amy Bates, Assistant Headteacher at Highfields School, said: "We are delighted to receive the Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award.


"Our inclusive school ethos is built upon positive relationships, and we always ensure that children are at the centre of everything we do. Staff at Highfields are dedicated to supporting all children and ensuring that they achieve the best possible outcomes – we never give up on them.


"We would like to thank our incredible students, our parents and carers who are so supportive and all partners who work so collaboratively with us. Finally, a huge thank you to Wolverhampton Virtual School for nominating us and for all of the support and guidance they provide."


Darren Martindale, Virtual School head, said: "We have a longstanding relationship with Highfields which has a significant proportion of children and young people in care among its 1,700 students.


"The school believes that the secret to success when working with vulnerable children is not 'rocket science' but 'neuroscience' and, as such, places a huge value on all staff being trained to look beyond presenting behaviours to the possible causes. The school is holistic in its approach and goes above and beyond for its children."


There were also celebrations for Switch Midlands Alternative Education, which supports children and young people in crisis who are between mainstream schools and was shortlisted in the Alternative Provision category.


Councillor Jacqui Coogan, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, said: "Attachment and trauma awareness within schools is incredibly important; it makes them better schools and it benefits all their children, not just those who have attachment issues.


“Every year, our Virtual School has the pleasure of shortlisting a number of educational settings it works with for the Alex Timpson ARC Attachment Award, and I would like to congratulate both Highfields School and Switch Midlands on their success.


"This is the second year running that education settings in our city have won and been shortlisted for this national award – last year Low Hill Nursery won the Early Years category and St Michael’s CE Primary School in Tettenhall was a finalist in the Primary category – and it’s great that so many of our schools are leading the way in embedding these key areas in their schools."


The winners were announced at the Attachment Research Community’s annual conference in Birmingham, which brought together professionals from across the country to discuss attachment and trauma awareness and celebrate best practice.


Celebrating the ARC award are, left to right, Darren Martindale, Head of Wolverhampton Virtual School, Amy Bates, Assistant Headteacher at Highfields School, Jayne Rowley, Highfields' Student Welfare Manager and Deputy DSL, and Rachel Crowley, Senior Advisory Teacher, Wolverhampton Virtual School.

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