CONFERENCE   (online)  

16th April 2012 10am-3pm


The majority of children permanently excluded from schools are those who already have a history of adverse childhood experiences and have been traumatized. It is perverse that the children in most need of stability, understanding and support are those who are far more likely to be rejected by the very people who are paid to look after them in loco parentis and prepare them for adulthood. Currently many more children have been deeply traumatised as a result of their experiences during lockdown. They are returning to some schools that may not understand how to support the healing process needed to enable them to re-engage with learning. This conference explores this issue and suggests strategies to help all professionals who work with vulnerable children to help keep them in schools rather than excluding them.


Head Teachers and Senior Leaders

Head Teachers and staff of Virtual Schools


Lead Members for Children’s Services

Directors of Children’s Services

Educational and Clinical Psychologists and other Child Therapists

Managers and Senior LA Officers engaged in work for Looked After Children (LAC)

University researchers

All adults interested in the education, safeguarding and welfare of vulnerable children.


10.00 – 10.10

 Sylvia Duncan (Chair of IRCT)

Welcome and introductions

10.I0 – 10.40  

Patrick Finegan ( Head of Looked After and Vulnerable Children Royal National Springboard Foundation)

 “Why Permanently Exclude Children from Schools?”

Patrick will put forward a case for permanent exclusions to be no longer tolerated as they are unnecessarily cruel and have proven to be damaging to the life chances of vulnerable children. He will propose alternative strategies that are often ignored.

10.40 – 10.50 Q&A

10.50 – 11.10 Fallout Group Discussion.

11.10 – 11.40  

Andrew Wright  (Virtual School Head & Chairman of ARC)

“Looked After Children”

Andrew will discuss the practical problems facing schools and Virtual Schools as vulnerable children return to school. He will deal with the issue of avoiding exclusions by advocating for more understanding of attachment and trauma as set out by ARC (Attachment Research Community).

11.40 – 11.50 Q&A

11.50 – 12.10  Fallout Group Discussion

12.10-12.20 Comfort Break

12.20- 12.50

Janet Rose (Principal Norland College)

“Supporting vulnerable children through Emotion Coaching”

Janet will outline how Emotion Coaching might support vulnerable and traumatised children, particularly in relation to the impact of COVID on their lives.

12.50-13.00 Q&A

13.00-13.20 Fallout Group Discussion

13.20-13.40 Lunch


Kate Cairns (Training Director Kate Cairns Associates)

“Responding to Trauma-driven Behaviour: social exclusion or community resilience?”

Trauma-driven behaviour, in all its many manifestations, is socially challenging. It often leads to social exclusion. Yet such exclusion is damaging not just to the traumatised person but also to the community doing the excluding. Human communities are only genuinely resilient when they can operate from a base of compassionate reason, absorbing and transforming the disruption of trauma so that individuals can recover and the whole community can thrive.

14.10-14.20  Q&A

14.20-14.30 Fallout Group Discussion

14.30-15.00 Closing Plenary


Members £30

Non-Members £60 (which includes the option of a one year membership of IRCT (normally £50)

Andrew is the Head Teacher of Dudley Virtual School for Children In Care supporting over 600 young people in their educational settings. He is also the Chair Of the Attachment Research Community and currently chairs the WMVS CiC Charity Foundation.

Andrew has over 40 years of teaching experience, including over 10 years as Head Teacher/Principal, in a range of secondary school across the West Midlands. A clear strategic thinker, Andrew has an expertise in school improvement within challenging settings, transforming the ethos of schools, the behaviour, attendance, and attainment of young people. He has been recognised by Ofsted as a leader who sets ‘a clear direction and vision focusing on raising aspirations and achievements.

Andrew has a keen understanding of developing an inclusive curriculum both within and across schools. He has influenced innovation in curriculum design through a range of strategic roles including chair of a collaborative network of schools, regional and national strategy groups and has directly integrated partners from the world of work into the learning experiences.

As the Head Teacher of the Virtual School, Andrew is committed to developing a sustainable system of support to enable all children to develop into independent and successful adults. He recognises the importance of strong partnerships across services, businesses and agencies and has developed a menu of support and opportunities in a ‘Learning Tool Kit’ for children in care. 

Patrick Finegan is a qualified teacher with extensive experience in all phases of education. He was a highly successful Primary Head Teacher, taking two schools out of Ofsted categories, and was a School Adviser in the West Midlands as well as being a Lead Ofsted Inspector. Patrick is an experienced Virtual Head for Looked After Children (8 Local Authorities) and has been an adviser to three government ministers. He was an expert witness for the House of Commons Select Committee for Looked After Children.

Patrick was the Executive Head Teacher of Sandwell Transition Education Partnership Service (STEPS) which is a unique school for international newly arrived children. He was the treasurer of NAVSH and is a trustee of the Institute for the Recovery of Childhood Trauma (IRCT). Recently he was the Virtual Head of Wokingham and is currently the Head of Looked After and Vulnerable Children for the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation.

Kate Cairns is an author, speaker and trainer with an international reputation for her work around attachment, trauma and resilience, particularly in relation to vulnerable children and young people. She has been a social worker for forty years, and a trainer for twenty years

With her husband Brian and their three birth children, Kate provided a permanent family for twelve other children between 1975 and 1997. Thereafter, she worked as a trainer/consultant and writer for the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. In 2002 she published Attachment, Trauma and Resilience, which explored how these three key concepts could provide a structure for understanding ourselves and those with whom we work. The book became a bestseller for BAAF and has influenced practice around the world.

Over the past decade, Kate has concentrated on translating the insights of current neuroscientific research on brain development and function into accessible knowledge and practice skills for carers and practitioners working with children and young people, and for those who support them. She has developed online learning and vocational qualifications, and provided widely-acclaimed training and consultancy to both universal and specialist services across social work, child care, health and education.

Since conducting research for her first book, Surviving Paedophilia (now reissued as Circles of Harm), Kate has been convinced that working with vulnerable people has to be a collaborative exercise. She therefore feels it is a great privilege to be part of a group of associates who embody the shared understanding and vision, and the unity of purpose and action, that are the vital ingredients for supporting recovery and transformation after trauma.

Dr Janet Rose is a currently Principal of Norland College and a former Associate Professor and Reader in Education at Bath Spa University.  She has a wealth of experience in supporting children and young people, including those who have experienced trauma.  She led the national research project Attachment Aware Schools and Trauma Informed Practice, which comprised a comprehensive programme of support for children and young people affected by early attachment difficulties, trauma and neglect.  She is also co-founder of Emotion Coaching UK which trains and researches the use of Emotion Coaching as a practical strategy to support the development of children’s and young people’s self-regulation, behaviour, wellbeing and resilience, including children and young people who have experience trauma.  She has worked closely with numerous Virtual Schools and organisations who support Looked After Children and is currently a member of the Ministerial Care Leaver Summit.  She is the author of numerous academic and professional publications related to attachment and trauma, the most recent of which is a book on Emotion Coaching. She is also an Associate for Kate Cairns Associates.