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Nurture UK

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:

  1. Developmental strands which describe different aspects of the pupil’s developmental process.
  2. Diagnostic profile describing behaviours that inhibit or interfere with the pupil’s involvement in school.

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:

  1. Children’s learning is understood developmentally.

Independence develops through dependence. Staff responding to children at their emotional/development level enables them to move on.

  • The school offers a safe base.

Importance of structure and consistency with firm, clear boundaries and adults and children working together supportively.

  • The importance of nurture for the development of self-esteem.

Staff listening and responding to children in ways that shows they are valued and thought about or kept in mind.

  • The importance of transitions in children’s lives

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.

  • Language as a vital means of communication

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.

  • All behaviour is communication

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:

  • is a small discrete class of around 6-8 pupils
  • provides a safe and predictable structured environment
  • gives children opportunities to revisit early missed ‘nurturing’ experiences
  • children returned to class between 2 to 4 terms after being in the 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

  • Every child gets the support they need to engage fully with their education.
  • Boxall assessments will be used to support staff to understand and work more effectively with children in a way that’s sensitive to the needs of the child being assessed.
  • Boxall Profile generate unique lesson plans tailored to each child’s specific SEMH needs and will effectively tackle individual challenges as well as evidence levels of needs across groups.

We will have Lego therapy interventions

  • Maths and Science skills fosters spatial reasoning and awareness of portions and patterns. The basic Lego bricks also teach fractions and division without children realizing it. Physics and engineering skills are also silently being developed, thinking in three dimensions, balance and weight use support for these structures.
  • The most obvious physical benefit of building with Lego is the development of fine motor skills, which require small muscle movements as a child manipulates, he/she develops co-ordination in fingers and hands. The ability to follow instructions is a key benefit of Lego building with step-by step instructions to complete the task.
  • Thinking and using problem solving skills are key to building with Lego. Sometimes using the trial-and-error method, other benefits of planning and organising thoughts as well as bring an idea to life.
  • Creativity is, perhaps the most obvious of the benefits of learning with Lego. Building with blocks fosters a child’s creativity. Free, open ended play encourages children to think outside the box and dream up endless possibilities.

We will have Forest school interventions

  • Forest Schools are multi-sensory and can help improve concentration and the motivation to learn. Forest school can help children with learning disabilities or additional needs to gain more independence, reduce anxiety, build resilience and improve their communication skills.
  • Forest school can promote the development of self-awareness by providing opportunities for children to challenge themselves and take risks. This may be physical activities such as tree climbing that support awareness of physical self or reflective activities that encourage children to analyse their successes and failures.
  • The outdoor environment encourages skills such as problem solving and negotiating risk which are important for child development. Whilst these opportunities for children to access the natural environment are diminishing, children are spending less time outside due to concerns over safety, traffic, crime and parental worries.

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.

Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust
Stanley Grove Primary Academy
Parry Road, Longsight
Manchester M12 4NL
Ofsted CEOP