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KCA speaking at Nursery World North Conference this Friday

KCA will be contributing to a programme of events at the Nursery World North Conference in Liverpool this Friday. KCA Associate Debbie Koroma will be offering an expert practice session around Behaviour Management in the Early Years, drawing on KCA's core curriculum around Attachment, Trauma and Resilience.

Debbie's session will be at 3pm on the Friday - with the conference running across Friday and Saturday at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre on Kings Dock. KCA will be running a stand at the exhibition on both days, so if you are at the conference do pop down and see us!

KCA appoints Jonathan Rallings as new Managing Director

KCA has welcomed Jonathan Rallings as its new Managing Director. Jon brings a wealth of experience from a range of roles in the public and voluntary sector - including at NSPCC, Pre-School Learning Alliance and London Councils. Most recently he has led on rolling out KCA's Five to Thrive into services UK-wide whilst Assistant Director for Strategy at Barnardo's.

Jon takes up his post at KCA on Monday 8 January 2018.

Attachment Awareness in Schools and Co-creation

The concept of co-creation is one of the key components of successful projects identified by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University in their seminal paper of May 2016 entitled From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts.

They define it as follows:

Co-Creation in Designing and Testing New Program Strategies

Actively combining knowledge and experience from science, practice, community, and policy perspectives is essential to innovative thinking. Productive collaboration brings together people who seek novel ideas to address identified gaps and challenges with partners who develop creative approaches to achieve specified outcomes. When these roles converge in teams and settings that have the mindset, skills, leadership, and flexible funding to design and test new strategies, the conditions are in place for breakthrough impact.

This research from Harvard informs how we work with school settings and services around attachment awareness. As our Associates share the latest knowledge and understanding of attachment, trauma, resilience and the neurophysiology of relationships, it is exciting for us to see the practice developments that emerge as practitioners incorporate this into their own local context. This co-created approach ensures that the schools with whom we work are using their own knowledge, skills and expertise to bring about genuine transformation in their own area.

Two new case studies have just been published on our website which provide details of different projects to develop attachment awareness in schools. One follows the progress of two quite different primary schools in London's Tri-Borough area, Our Lady of Dolours RC Primary School in Westminster and Oxford Gardens Primary School Kensington and Chelsea. Another details the journey of an all-through academy for three- to sixteen-year-olds in Runcorn, The Grange School.

All these settings had different starting points in terms of demographics, history, culture, policy and staff's levels of understanding and skills around attachment, trauma and resilience. Their motivations at senior leadership level for wanting to develop more attachment-aware practice also varied accordingly, and therefore the routes they have taken towards this goal are informed by a range of locally specified outcomes.

Barnardo's Scotland using Five to Thrive to close the educational gap

Barnardo's Scotland has put attachment-aware and trauma-informed practice at the heart of their response to the Scottish Government's Attainment Challenge.

'Our work to close the educational attainment gap focuses on promoting secure attachment, promoting recovery from toxic stress (trauma) and building resilient communities', states their new document outlining their approach, Closing the Educational Attainment Gap.

Barnardo's Scotland and KCA have worked together to co-create a two-part model which aims to meet the Attainment Challenge by supporting the development of attachment-aware and trauma-informed nurseries and schools. This will increase knowledge of the neuroscience of learning and development, the impact of toxic stress on the body, and developing practitioners' skills and confidence in promoting healthy brain development. The second part focuses on providing whole-family support from nursery through to secondary phases with a strong emphasis on supporting educational attainment through positive family relationships.

'Our ambition is to enable Scotland's children to arrive at the school gates ready to learn. We will achieve this by helping parents build strong and healthy relationships with their children which will in turn increase their educational attainment and life chances', said Martin Crewe, Director, Barnardo's Scotland.

Nursery, primary and secondary settings across North Lanarkshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire are already involved and Barnardo's Scotland are continuously measuring and testing the model's effectiveness using the Scottish Government's 3-step Improvement Framework.

Evaluations of this work demonstrate a clear link between a child being raised in a nurturing, caring and supportive way and their ability to learn and achieve in school.

Learn more about Barnardo's Scotland's work to close the educational gap here.

Attachment Research Community launch conference kick-starts important new initiative

The inaugural conference of the Attachment Research Community at Birmingham's NEC took place on Wednesday 7 December, and KCA was happy to be a part of it.

Around 180 enthusiastic delegates warmly welcomed the launch of this new sector-led initiative which will facilitate and share action research into those attachment-aware, trauma-informed and neuroscience-based interventions which work best for children.

Kate Cairns spoke about the Harvard model of 'co-creation' saying, 'Practice develops best when the people who are doing it are the ones who actually develop it.' You can read more on this here, an interview with Kate published in Nursery World on 12 December.

John Timpson CBE announced that he will be funding five years of research into fostering and education at the Rees Centre; Dr Janet Rose spoke about 'the zone of tolerable stress'; school practitioners celebrated the fantastic work they have been doing in bringing attachment awareness into practice in their schools; and researchers from Bath Spa University shared their findings which indicate that attachment-aware practice improves pupil attainment as well as emotional health and wellbeing.

Tony Clifford, Head of the Virtual School closed the conference with a rallying cry: 'This is a call to arms - the arms that we extend out to support children when they are in need of connection.'

From January 2017, professional organisations which are delivering attachment-aware and trauma-informed interventions with children will be able to sign up to become members of the ARC. Member organisations will have access to a specially designed web platform which will support them to conduct action research within their settings and share it across a community of like-minded organisations delivering children's services nationally and internationally.

You can learn more at www.the-arc.org.uk, find it on Facebook @attachmentresearch or follow it on Twitter @attachmentrc

Bringing Five to Thrive Alive: two approaches to implementing Five to Thrive within Barnardo's

Interesting report published by Barnardo's earlier this week, sharing some of their experience of implementing new approaches and interventions using Five to Thrive.

You can view the report by clicking this link.

Barnardo's Early Intervention with Families Strategy

To date, eighty-two KCA training events have been delivered as part of the Barnardo's three-year Early Intervention with Families Strategy. This means that we have trained over 1,800 Barnardo's staff!

The training was jointly delivered with Barnardo's Training and Consultancy, and the courses have been overwhelmingly well received by staff: 94% of post-training respondents said they would recommend this training to others.

We now look forward to delivering more training in the third year of the strategy and to working even more closely with Barnardo's services across the UK as they begin to use Five to Thrive in practice.

Lewisham launch of Five to Thrive

A conference at Lewisham University Hospital saw Public Health come together with Children's Centres for the launch of Five to Thrive in the borough of Lewisham, which will contribute greatly towards Lewisham's aim of becoming a UNICEF 'Baby Friendly' borough.

The conference was opened by Director of Children's Services, Frankie Sulke who reminded conference that the money the local authority has to spend on services for children belongs to the children, and that every penny must be for the benefit of the children of Lewisham.

This was followed with hard-hitting keynote presentations from Carmel Duffy from UNICEF on becoming a 'Baby Friendly' borough, and our very own Kate Cairns on the neuroscience behind Five to Thrive.

Managers from Health, Early Years, Education, Social Care, and voluntary sector services joined in a working lunch to plan taking Five to Thrive into their own services. In the afternoon Children's Centres then worked together on planning and implementation.

We now look forward to supporting Lewisham on their continuing journey towards becoming a 'Baby Friendly' borough and their innovative and inspiring plans to use Five to Thrive in practice.

State of the Nation report published

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission today published its report 'The State of the Nation'.

Five to Thrive is cited within the report as "the most notable [small-scale programme] aimed at improving the early years workforce so that they understand the key factors in children's healthy brain development".

We are heartened to see the fundamental importance of parenting has been recognised within this report and we will follow with interest Government policy response over the coming months and years.

Barnardo's rolls out Five to Thrive

Barnardo's are rolling out Five to Thrive training across the country as part of their Early Intervention strategy. Following the successful completion of Phase One of the initiative, 300 Early Years services are to receive training in the principles of Five to Thrive.

Assistant Director for Strategy at Barnardo's, Jonathan Rallings, said "The Five to Thrive approach will be complementary to the existing Barnardo's Early Years work. It will provide our family support staff with new ways of emphasising to parents the importance of their interactions with their baby, and the difference they can make to their child's life."

"In making our choice of [training] programme, we carried out a full assessment of a number of products on the open market of which Five to Thrive was felt to be the best fit for Barnardo's based on a number of criteria including cost, flexibility and focus."

Evaluation of My Baby's Brain confirms Five to Thrive makes a highly positive contribution

The evaluation of phase two of Hertfordshire's 'My Baby's Brain' project confirmed that Five to Thrive and the contributions made by KCA have an impact and are cost-effective.

Both the resources and training that make up KCA's Five to Thrive approach are now being considered by many Local Authorities and Health Trusts as an essential model to underpin work across children's services.

Northamptonshire Community Health Trust set to introduce Five to Thrive across children's services

As part of an organisational response to the neuroscience of brain development, Northamptonshire Community Health Trust, together with the Local Authority, have commissioned KCA to provision a significant staff development programme.

An ignition conference will take place on 13 May and this will be followed up by sector-specific training events and focused development of up to 60 'Five to Thrive Champions'.

New associate: Julie Revels

KCA is pleased to welcome Julie Revels to the team. Based in Cambridgeshire, Julie brings to KCA a wealth of experience in education and early years as a practitioner and trainer, and we know that she will contribute powerfully to our work with Five to Thrive and related topics throughout the UK.

You can see detail on Julie's relevant experience by visiting her associate page.

>>> More about Julie

CYP Now Outcomes Conference

Our Training Director, Kate Cairns, presented on Five to Thrive at the 2014 CYP Now Outcomes conference. Chaired by Anita Tiessen (UNICEF UK) and John Freeman, the conference was very well attended by senior leaders, managers and practitioners from across the public and private sectors.

New course: Brain Development and Positive Parenting

KCA Online has been extended with the addition of a new course for those working with parents and carers of young children. Drawing on our 'Five to Thrive' approach to reinforce positive parenting, the course is aimed at children's centre and nursery staff, outreach workers and volunteers.

Describing the course, Kate Cairns said, "Helping parents to understand the impact they have on the developing brain of their children can in turn help to develop parental responsiveness and confidence. This understanding truly promotes positive parenting."

Customer survey results show high satisfaction level

A broad-ranging poll of KCA's customers in October 2013 revealed a consistent message about the high quality of customer service and attention they received, even if the services being commissioned vary widely.

In total, 59 commissioners completed their survey response, with every single one saying that they would happily recommend KCA to colleagues. A massive 90% of respondents rated KCA's customer services as 'Very good' or better, while 14% described it as the best they have experienced.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 'Knowledge of KCA services' was seen as the most common attribute of KCA's training consultants, but the fact that 'Friendliness' and 'Communication skills' came in close behind was very pleasing for Sally Poskett, KCA's National Service Development Manager. 'From the point of view of our customers,' she said, 'the important thing is that they feel their training consultant is someone whose judgement and discretion they can trust. We're there to listen as much as to form proposals, and we're all about relationships, so I was really pleased to see friendliness and communication picked out in this survey.'

However, it was clear that the public service sector is still facing difficult financial times. Although 29% of respondents said it was 'certain' that they would be commissioning further work in the coming year, budgets were seen as the single biggest factor influencing ongoing commissioning. As one respondent remarked about KCA, 'I think their reputation is excellent and they deliver. The likelihood or not is linked to local budget constraints.'

Opinions varied on whether KCA should be doing more to maintain the important relationship with customers. While the general response was that existing communication channels worked well, a few people highlighted the website and more regular newsletters as areas for improvement. These suggestions are being taken forward by the company, with plans for both of these to be refreshed before the summer of this year.

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