Barnsley Virtual School

All children need secure attachment to at least one care giver to make sure they develop emotionally and socially.

If a child doesn't have the security of a positive attachment to help them learn how to manage emotional and social situations, they may develop insecure attachments. Doing so can impact on their cognitive development - the way they learn and how they come to understand the world.

The classroom can be a scary place for children with insecure attachment.

It's only recently that the implication for classroom practice of attachment theory has begun to be explored in detail. This was first proposed by psychoanalyst John Bowlby, and further developed by the work of Main and Cassidy among others.

Having a good understanding of attachment theory will enable school staff to better support the children in their care. It will develop the structures and support they need to begin to build trusting relationships over time.


Louise Bomber, a leading expert in this field, has developed a series of resources to support schools. These will help them to meet the needs of children with attachment difficulties.

These include the attachment-friendly school series:

  • What about me strategies to support pupils with attachment difficulties make it through the school day
    Bomber, Louise Michelle 2010; Worth Publishing
  • Inside I'm hurting - practical strategies for supporting children with attachment difficulties in schools
    Bomber, Louise Michelle 2008; Worth Publishing
  • PAC-uk is a charitable group that can provide bespoke training for schools

Please let us know if:

  • You've any other resources you've found helpful.
  • You've been on any courses that have made a real difference to your school's practice.

We'll then add them to the list above to help staff in other settings.

For more information email

Children and young people footer