Understanding, Nurturing and Working Effectively with Vulnerable Children in Schools : ‘Why Can’t You Hear Me?’ book cover
1st Edition

Understanding, Nurturing and Working Effectively with Vulnerable Children in Schools
‘Why Can’t You Hear Me?’

ISBN 9780367025465
Published August 19, 2019 by Routledge
360 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In times of increasing pressure on schools and teachers, it is essential that teachers are equipped to understand the emotional and relational factors in learning and teaching. Vulnerable and disaffected children need understanding and nurture rather than reactive management, which can easily exacerbate their difficulties, leaving them unheard and defensive, and even undermine teacher confidence and effectiveness.

Understanding, Nurturing and Working Effectively with Vulnerable Children in Schools offers a comprehensive and accessible exploration of the difficulties faced by teachers and schools from at-risk and disaffected children, including repeated trauma and insecure attachment patterns. The book describes how a thoughtful ‘relationship-based’ approach can both alleviate such difficulties and offer a second chance attachment experience, enabling students to discover it might be safe to let down their all consuming defences a little; thus freeing them to begin to learn. It offers:

  • practical suggestions in note form – making them easy to use, refer to and assimilate;
  • numerous case examples and teacher friendly theoretical background material;
  • a wealth of ideas for ways forward, including differentiated responses to children in the light of their particular patterns, developmental stages and unmet needs.

Written from extensive professional experience, this is an essential handbook and resource book for trainers, schools, teachers and school staff, and also for educational psychologists and those in children’s services working with vulnerable children in pre and primary schools, as well as those in special schools and units.

Table of Contents

Foreword  Preface  Chapter 1. Introduction to Attachment Theory  Chapter 2. Useful Neuroscience: A Simple Introduction for School Staff and Child Workers  Chapter 3. The Effects of Unsupported Trauma  Chapter 4. Understanding Unconscious Processes  Chapter 5. Emotional Containment  Part II  Chapter 6. Insecure Attachment Categories.  Chapter 7. Children Stuck in Early Developmental Stages  Chapter 8. The Importance of a Secure Base  Chapter 9 Behaviour as Unconscious Communication  Chapter 10. Learning Inhibitions as Possible Unconscious Communications  Chapter 11. Relating and Relationships: Using Relationships as a Healing Vehicle  Chapter 12. Coping with Change  Chapter 13. Working through the Metaphor Chapter 14. Enhancing Our Own and the Children’s Personal Capacities  Chapter 15. Working with Vulnerable Parents: Some Thoughts  Chapter 16. A Nurturing School: Some Thoughts From an Assistant Head  Conclusion  Appendix 1 Nurturing school checklist  Appendix 2 Self-assessment of skills in emotional holding and containment  Appendix 3 Possible unconscious meanings of common behaviours  Appendix 4 Possible unconscious meanings of learning difficulties and behaviours  Appendix 5 Introduction to ‘Safe to Learn’: an eight-session powerpoint training course

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Angela Greenwood is an educational psychotherapist with many years' experience training and supervising staff and working therapeutically with children in domestic abuse, pupil referral units, mainstream settings and in private practice. She co-facilitated the local Nurture Network, and the Safe to Learn course for school staff.


"This book is timely! Positive relationships are at the heart of all good teaching and learning; they allow us to reach out to our learners, to understand them, form strong connections and create the learning environment they need to flourish. Angela draws on her professional expertise and extensive experience to give clear explanations, examples and pertinent case studies, all grounded in relevant theory, which enlighten those who have important work to do in supporting our most vulnerable learners; children who require especially fine and considered attunement from the adults who work with them. As a teacher educator I consider this to be an important book to deepen understanding of the issues in relation to attachment while providing a wealth of material to use with our student teachers."

Rosie Moore, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of Brighton

"In light of the ongoing debate around exclusions and the increase in mental health issues, the release of this book is extremely timely. It will help professionals to reframe their understanding of behaviour and what children and young people might be communicating through it. The book is grounded in accessible theory with illustrative examples showing how these relate to practice. In addition, Angela Greenwood provides readers with realistic and effective strategies to help them engage with and support the children and young people in their care."

Michael Surr, Education Development Officer and editor of nasen Connect, nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs)

"Angela Greenwood has captured here, in one volume, all the most compelling and salient psycho-dynamically-informed approaches and strategies for supporting children and young people in education settings. This work is replete with examples of how attachment theory and associated perspectives may inform how teachers, learning support assistants and other educational professionals can provide the optimal conditions for children to feel safe, to learn and to flourish. This book will, no doubt, make a significant impact on school staff, school systems, organisational structures within education, and, most vitally, on the children and families they serve."

Nicole Schnackenberg, Educational Psychologist and author of False Bodies, True Selves: Moving Beyond Appearance-Focused Identity Struggles and Returning to the True Self

"This book is a summary of what all teachers should understand and practice if we are to help all children to learn. It describes the implications of early social and emotional childhood experience for later behaviour and responses in the classroom and relates this to teaching practice and delivery. An essential read for all education staff."

Heather Geddes, Educational Psychotherapist and author of Attachment in the Classroom