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Attachment At Hope



The Liverpool ‘HEARTS’ framework was developed to combine the skills and expertise within Liverpool’s education providers, teams and multi-agency partners, with the underlying evidence base around best practice to enable ALL pupils to thrive within education. It is a statement of what the HEARTS project is setting out to achieve – it sets the vision, its principles and ambition, guiding the project in how to provide high quality, psychologically responsive care for everyone within the school community. It also defines the challenge we face and establishes the case for change, including why we might need to do things differently, particularly when thinking about how to best care for our most vulnerable children and young people. For those involved in the delivery of the project within and across schools, we hope it helps to strengthen an understanding around the key underlying principles behind the approach, and that it can be used to prioritise areas for development within/across schools, guide the development of policies and procedures, support decision making around best use of resources, help identify training needs etc. It is not a prescriptive “one size fits all” approach but is there to help us identify the fundamentals of the care we’re all trying to provide for our school communities. The Liverpool HEARTS framework has been devised in consultation with staff from the Liverpool Virtual School, key leads within the Liverpool Schools Project, Hope School in Liverpool, Clinical Psychologists from Changing Minds Child and Family Services (CMCAFS) and Education Consultants. It continues to evolve as the project develops, year to year.

Hope School Achieve Attachment and Trauma Friendly School Award Gold


Attachment and Trauma Sensitive Schools Award (ATSSA)

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.



Attachment and Trauma Sensitive Schools Award (ATSSA)

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.


'I should like to warmly congratulate you and your staff on achieving the Award, which is an external sign of recognition of your commitment to the steps you have taken at Hope School to develop a culture of compassion and nurture, and to become a truly attachment- and trauma-responsive setting.  The Award is valid for two years and will run from March 2021 to March 2023, at which point you will be invited to renew your accreditation.'


'It would be impossible to communicate adequately in this letter the breadth and richness of your practice. In short, Hope School is a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive organisation, which prioritises humanising systems, making them healthier, more relational and interpersonal, more integrated, more reflective, and more interconnected, not only focusing on the pupil population, but by ensuring that trauma-informed  knowledge, language, values, principles, assumptions and processes are embedded deep into the culture of the organisation; and are owned and shaped by everyone who is a part, regardless of role.'

What we do at Hope


Hope School has an attachment friendly ethos and has recently achieved The Attachment and Trauma informed school at bronze, silver and gold.  As part of our NLE, we use our knowledge in this area to support schools in Liverpool, similar SEMH schools and other professionals.  We often hold training events and conferences along with fellow partners. 


We offer our parents an insight into the attachment and trauma of themselves as part of our Family Partnership workshops. 

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As a school our policy is to support pupils social, emotional and mental health needs following attachment friendly practices and the use of THRIVE.  As a school we have support from an attachment advisor, a CAMHs worker and two staff trained to be THRIVE practitioners.


Hope School is fully committed to attachment friendly practices and works closely with a consultant to ensure we are fully reflective on our practices.  It is our aim to share the importance of attachment through our NLE status, assessment centre and conferences. 


We regularly throughout the school year hold parent/carer workshops. 

Hope School Attachment conference- 23rd June 2017

Attachment Awards

Sensory Development


Sensory development is integral to a child's understanding and experience of the world around them, it helps inform decisions that we all make, from where and how we sit, to what we eat and wear. The sensory needs of a person change with time. A child’s sensory processing will mature as they get older and a child will seek to meet their sensory needs in various ways. We all experience sensations in our own individual ways and as such we have our own sensory needs; some people can be extremely sensitive to noise, light, touch, smell or movement others may under respond to such sensations (COT April 2015).


At Hope School we assess pupils' sensory development so that we can best support our pupils and enable them to thrive. There is never any judgment on a pupil's experiences in life but these may have an influence on their sensory development.  Pupils are supported in meeting their sensory needs through interventions including; Thrive, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Individual Sensory Circuits, as well as being incorporated in the school curriculum.



Sensory Snack


As part of the curriculum at Hope School we incorporate sensory snacks throughout the day, these may be as part of the lesson, or a brief break. The aim of a sensory snack is to meet pupil's sensory needs, whether they need an activity to alert them or settle down, in order to be able to cope with the demands of the day. These may work at other times, whether at home, or when you maybe out and about, give them a try:


Calming Activities


  • Push hands on a wall
  • Push hands together
  • Interlock fingers and pull hands apart
  • Chair or wall push ups
  • Overhead stretch
  • Lying on a therapy ball, over and pushing hands into floor
  • Heavy work
  • Slow rocking or swinging
  • Hold or lean up against large stuffed animal or pillow
  • Sit on or hold a vibrating pillow
  • Deep touch/pressure
  • Deep belly breaths – have them put their hands on their belly and feel it expand and contract with deep breathing
  • Massage/lotion rubs
  • Play soft music/ turn lights down
  • Activities with head down


Changing the environment

  • Dim lighting
  • Soft, mellow music
  • Listen to quiet rhythmical music, with or without headphones
  • Whisper and move slowly in the child’s environment
  • Designated area that the child can use as a hideout, such as a blanket over a table, a large box, a quiet corner


Alerting Activities


  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Start and stop activities
  • Spinning (e.g. sit and spin)
  • Unpredictable rocking, swinging, bouncing
  • Wash face with cold water
  • Light touch/tickling/feathers
  • Fast bouncing on ball
  • Roll backwards over therapy ball
  • Music with varied pitch, sounds, uneven, fast beat
  • Blow whistles
  • Bright lights/ bright, contrasting colors
  • Fidget with a koosh ball, paper clip, etc.
  • Foods: chewy, crunchy, sweet, or sour
  • Very cold drinks
  • Drink from a straw (thick liquids)



Article 39: Children who have experienced neglect, abuse, exploitation, torture or who are victims of war must receive special support to help them recover their health, dignity, self-respect and social life.