What is Nurture?
At Stanley Grove Primary Academy our aim is to ensure that we provide an inclusive, creative curriculum that can be accessible to all. For a small minority of children, the demands of a mainstream classroom can be overwhelming.
As a school, we use some of the approaches from The National Nurturing Schools Programme to improve the health and wellbeing of children and removing barriers to learning by promoting nurture in education through NurtureUK.
Nurture approaches have been an educational intervention since the 1960’s developed by Majorie Boxall. The Boxall Profiles are assessment tools for identifying the pupils’ obstacles to learning which then allows the planning of effective intervention. It can highlight a wide range of concerns that might not be initially obvious and help ensure transparency in communication between staff with the school setting and can also open discussions with parents.
The Boxall Profile consists of two sections:
An intervention approach was devised to improve the social, emotional development of such children, which in turn will improve their cognitive functioning and learning.
With early identification of potential social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental health issues we aim to use the Boxall Profile assessments for children who may find this challenging, through the six principles embedded in the curriculum.
The Nurture Principles
The Nurture Principles are the core principles that individuals base their practice on and are key to any Nurturing school. These basic principles are underpinned by the essential components of trust and relationships. These are:
Independence develops through dependence. Staff responding to children at their emotional/development level enables them to move on.
Importance of structure and consistency with firm, clear boundaries and adults and children working together supportively.
Staff listening and responding to children in ways that shows they are valued and thought about or kept in mind.
Staff who acknowledge the feelings aroused by transitions and who understand that even small changes in routine (eg, a visitor, school photos, going to lunch) can be overwhelming and unsettling for some children.
Some children and adults in the school community need to be helped to understand and to express their feelings and given opportunities for extended conversations.
Children and adults use behaviour to communicate how they are feeling, sometimes when they don’t have an opportunity to verbalise what they are saying or sometimes when they can’t find the internal resources to translate their feelings into language.
A nurture group:
Teaching staff and Primary Learning Assistants/Mentors (PLA,PLM’s) model positive relationships and there is an emphasis on the development of language and communication skills and a focus on social, emotional and challenging behaviour.
As well as developing curriculum-based skills, children are encouraged to celebrate their own progress with acquiring skills such as listening, sharing and turn-taking that will reduce or remove barriers to learning thus enabling success back in the mainstream classroom.
What are the benefits?
We will have a variety of options within our nurture groups. We will have a nurture room, this will provide a safe, predictable and structured space to further the child with their emotional and social development. The space will be used for children to unwind, chat with peers and interact with learning resources.
We will have Boxall interventions
We will have Lego therapy interventions
We will have Forest school interventions
Involving Parents and carers
It is crucial that parents and carers are informed and involved in the running of the nurture group. They should be regularly invited to join in the nurture group activities and their feedback gathered. It is also good practice to provide materials for parents and carers to read about nurture groups.