Adoption UK’s sell-out annual conference Attachment and Trauma in the Classroom has been hailed by those adoptive parents who attended, as the charity’s “best yet”.

This year’s conference was Adoption UK’s biggest in years, and included a powerful line-up of speakers, including head-teachers, parents, therapy providers and a video address from Children's Minister Robert Goodwill.

Three of the charity’s ambassadors were also able to attend the event. Broadcaster and adoptee Nicky Campbell OBE spoke to delegates about his own experiences as an adoptee, before joining Olympic gold medallist and adoptive parent Tessa Sanderson CBE and West End star and adoptee Shona White, for a light-hearted Q&A.

But the real stars of the day were undoubtedly the young adoptees, who all received a standing ovation from the 400-strong crowd after they bravely spoke about their experiences in school.

Adoption UK’s chief executive Dr Sue Armstrong Brown shared her reflections on her first six-months at the charity with delegates at the conference. She also launched the charity’s exclusions report, which found adopted children are excluded more often and at a younger age than their classmates. The report can be viewed  here.

Dr Armstrong Brown said: “Schools always comes up as a priority theme for adopters, which is why we focussed the whole conference on it. Adoptive parents tell us their children are regularly penalised at school because of a lack of understanding about their complex needs. We know adopted children’s early childhood experiences can often lead to behavioural, physical and emotional difficulties which play out in a school environment. The record attendee numbers at this year's conference underline its importance.

“The buzz in the hall was reflected online, with #AUKConf trending tenth on Twitter at lunchtime on the day.”

Members sent out the following tweets on the day:  

An inspirational, emotional and innovative day

Today was my first AUK Conference. Would I recommend it? Hell yes! 

Like all good festivals it built and built during the day, until the headliners blew us all away

Dr Armstrong Brown added: “I'd really like to say a special thank you to all of the guest speakers, our ambassadors who attended and the adoptees who made up the young person's panel, for making it such a memorable day.”

Scott Casson Rennie, Adoption UK’s head of engagement and delivery, who chaired the conference, said:  “The opportunity to chair this year’s conference was a huge honour. The response since has been overwhelming – and heartfelt – and I am so proud to have been a part of it.”

Adoption UK now plans to take the points raised at the conference and in our report forward in discussions with schools and governments.