Pupils have been seriously impacted the by disruption in schools and has led to increased levels of anxiety and stress, says Chroma, the UKs leading provider of arts therapies.
According to Chroma, inconsistencies within the school environment has also led to a rise in attachment issues in children as teaching disruption, poor staffing levels and the recent strikes have impacted on the mental wellbeing of children who are still struggling to adjust to normal school life two years post-Covid.
Attachment is the bond between individuals that creates a sense of safety and children need this transitional attachment with the adults around them to be secure in order to feel safe and confident in school.
If not, children experience toxic stress – the body’s response to prolonged adversity such as anxiety or sadness, negatively affecting their emotional and physiological wellbeing.
Rachel Swanick, senior clinical therapist & training Lead at Chroma said: “Schools need to become more trauma informed in working with attachment issues rather than just concentrating on behavioural and educational needs. When a pupil is in an environment where they do not feel secure, they experience toxic stress. When this happens, cortisol floods the body creating a physiological response that renders the child unable to think clearly or perform well in class.
“Attachment issues could also be the underlying reason for behavioural issues in class, being aware of the issues poor attachment can cause are all the more important.
“It is also essential to note that some children may have issues at home, therefore it is all the more important that they have a stable environment are they transition during their school years to help them to feel more confident in their abilities, calm, and safe.”
For teachers to begin addressing attachment issues, understanding the issues affecting pupils is vital, especially in terms of assessing their home life, behaviours in school and how they relate to others. Teachers can then use those findings to formulate an attachment support plan.
Without consistency in schools, in terms of teachers and the environment, children will continue to experience attachment issues.
Rachel added: “The underlying theme in challenged attachment strategies is the lack of consistency. Providing the children in your class with your consistent care and attention, with predictable routines and reactions from teachers is so important. Throughout the week, provide a regular safe place for children where they can express themselves emotionally. This is hard with so many children so upskill your TAs, reading and lunch assistants, anyone who interacts with children.”
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