Psychotherapist’s talk inspires Sussex schools

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A GROUP of school leaders in the Observer area have come together to share ideas on teaching, and held their first conference last month.

The Bishop-Luffa-led group, the Blue Flag Alliance, 
met at Midhurst Rother College to hear a talk from leading psychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidgjh.

The idea of the group is ‘we are all responsible for all our young people in our area, and that no single institution can meet all the needs of all of its pupils on its own’.

Other schools in the alliance include Felpham Community College, Bourne Community College, The Regis School, the Six Villages Academy and Fordwater School, to name a few, and Chichester University is also onboard as a strategic partner.

More than 60 teachers from the area attended the conference and listened to the inspiring talk.

Nick Taunt, Bishop Luffa’s headteacher, said: “Camila works with disturbed young people in Kids Company which she founded and directs.

“Her message was one of hope, shot through with the steel of persistent research.

“Brain research has revealed how a mother’s stress and aggression can pre-programme her unborn baby by emphasising aspects of its genetic potential.

“She spoke of the effects on that child’s brain of a chaotic and deprived upbringing.

“She explored how traditional school sanctions for misbehaviour mean little to a mind regulated not by rational choices, but by emotional fear of humiliation and loss of power.

“The hope comes from Camila’s unbreakable assurance that compassion can help rebuild the broken and fill in the gaps of in a child’s life.

“She outlined her ‘attachment framework’ for schools – a set of practical steps to reinforce attachment in the disregulated child: frequent contacts with an adult, a seated area at break and lunch with an adult nearby, non-confrontational strategies of working with aggression, activities to build up attachment potential, bite-size success and support for the staff in the frontline.

“It was an inspiring start to the conference. Delegates then attended ten different workshops in outstanding lesson planning, active target-setting and innovative teaching.

“Thanks to the organising team led by Pat Ashman, deputy head of Felpham Community College, Jen Weeks, deputy head of Midhurst Rother College and Joe Vitagliano head of Midhurst Rother College.”

For more information on the Blue Flag Alliance and for its upcoming events, visit the website at