It is a sad fact that a number of children who have been adopted, fostered or spent time in care, are less likely to achieve the same results at school as their peers, a fact borne out by the statistic that adopted children are twenty times more likely to be excluded from school than children who have never been in care (Adoption UK, 2017).

The reasons for this are complex, but it seems that the effects of early life adversity and maltreatment, including pre-natal exposure to alcohol, chronic relational (developmental) trauma prior to care proceedings, and losses of attachment figures (experienced in early childhood and attachment difficulties) can interfere with both cognitive and social development, which in turn will affect social emotional integration in school as well as academic achievements.

PAC-UK Education Service e-Learning - THE online training for education professionals on attachment: a self-guided route to becoming an adoption friendly school

The good news is that the greater awareness and knowledge in this area is giving educators the greater understanding, sensitivity and strategies to better support children affected by early trauma who would previously have been written off as ‘naughty’.

Mitigating their difficult early start will give them the increased chances (as well as the tools they need) to fulfil their potential. The insight into the effects of early trauma’s neurological impact on developing young minds gives educators the strategies they need to help. As disruption in the classroom will decrease, other children in the classroom are less affected too.

How PAC-UK is working to make schools more adoption-friendly

In an ambitious effort to share the ground-breaking research in this area, PAC-UK's Education Service has produced a series of videos created especially for teachers and educators, to foster and promote greater understanding of the needs of cared-for and adopted children, as part of the grant received from the Department of Education.

Helen McConnell, PAC-UK Education Practice Manager, explained the ambitious plan of creating a nation-wide online platform for schools to become adoption-friendly:

PAC-UK Education Practice Manager, Helen McConnell

“We want to expand the remit of training for teachers around development trauma, attachment needs and the needs of adopted children, creating a legacy for the DfE project and which will increase the reach of our training. Obviously, PAC-UK's Education Service delivers ‘live’ training to a large number of schools, but sometimes schools don’t feel that they have the time to fit a live training session in, or they are unable to prioritise it due to a range of demands on their time.”

“By creating an e-learning platform, we have made our training more accessible, because what’s really important is getting the message out there – for schools to recognise these needs, identify these needs and then meet the needs of these vulnerable children.”

Has it really been a game-changer for schools?

“The e-learning platform counteracts the geographical restrictions that we have in terms of staffing; as anyone, anywhere can buy and use this training, from parents to teachers, and anyone with an interest in improving the educational attainment for children who have had a difficult start in life.”

e-Learning course content

Whilst PAC-UK’s training is centred on the needs of previously looked after children, the e-learning is relevant in supporting and meeting the needs of all vulnerable children – a key focus area for Ofsted. The training is relevant for everyone who works in or alongside schools, early years and FE settings. Developed with funding from the Department of Education, the e-learning has three modules:

  • Module 1 Understanding attachment and trauma: Explores the needs of children that have experienced a difficult start in life
  • Module 2 Creating adoption friendly classrooms and schools: Provides strategies to support vulnerable children in the classroom
  • Module 3 Becoming an adoption friendly school: Delivers ideas on how to make whole school systems suitable for children that have experienced early life trauma

Our engaging videos and specialist trainers will guide you through each module, culminating in quizzes to consolidate your learning.

Upon successful completion of the final quiz for each module, this training counts as 3 hours CPD training.

Prices start at £35 plus VAT per licence with discounts available for purchases of over 10 group licences. A special introductory 10% discount offer has been applied for all purchases made before 1 October 2018.

Online payments - Once payment is made you will receive instant access to the information you need to activate your e-Learning licences and access content:

For online payments - purchase your e-Learning licence/s here for instant access

Invoice and purchase order payments - If you unable to make an online payment for your e-Learning licence/s and/or require an invoice before making payment (please note, for invoice and purchase order payments you will not receive your e-Learning site access information until your order has been processed):

For invoice and purchase order payments - order your e-Learning licence/s here

The below video gives a taster of what you can expect from the training! For further enquiries please contact us by emailing

PAC-UK's Education Service offers a range of services to enable schools, parents and guardians and education and social care professionals to meet the needs of children who have experienced difficult starts in life. As an education provider you can use Pupil Premium Plus to purchase any of our specialist education services.