People at the highest levels of management are the most defended. Don't start at the top. Get on with it! Suzanne Zeedyk

After roundtable discussions, participants asked questions and they and presenters commented as follows:

  1. There is a misalignment between the Scottish Government's policy on increasing childcare hours and its potential impact on children and families.  If we become a society where almost all children are in some kind of childcare, this could create problems.  Much childcare is not high-quality because staff are usually under-qualified and paid on the minimum wage.  Few receive training in attachment.  If it is important, then it has to be taken seriously.  For example dropping off and picking up children at nursery and school are 'attachment moments' but there is little or no guidance on how to do that well.  Childcare needs to be about choice and not compulsion - if you want it, it is there. The policy on childcare, attachment and tackling inequality does not seem interlinked.
  2. The unifying principle for all early years work is attachment.  If attachment is not guiding everything we do, then we are not making things better. The evidence is clear; but we need to get through the fear and put it into practice.  It is so significant because we can map early attachment patterns onto dementia symptoms.  What we do now will affect dementia rates.
  3. As individuals we want to be more caring, but we are not supported by institutions. But within a culture of actual and alleged child sexual abuse, how can we demonstrate a more caring approach to children in school?
  4. Many families are working and yet are still living in poverty. This includes lone parents.  How can we support them, for the sake of the children? Responses centred on the fact that one parent is often better than two: children don't need two parents. Children with one parent often get more attention; and re-partnering can be damaging for children.  If there are two parents around, whether together or separate, teenagers benefit from having good relationships with and good connections to both.
The main learning that I will take away from this conference is: unfortunately still a gulf between what we know about attachment/love and government policy but great to have discussion of these issues. Participant null

Report compiled by Shirley Henderson: www.shirleyhenderson.co.uk