What is the Purpose of Nurture Group & its Philosophy?Nurture Group takes place in ‘The Nest’. It is a small class of 4-10 pupils from KS1 and KS2 . Its composition is carefully thought-out to create a balanced and functional group. Its purpose is to offer children opportunities to re-visit early learning skills and promote and support their social and emotional development. There is much research evidence that children’s learning is most effective when they have a sense of emotional well-being, good self-esteem and a feeling of belonging to their school community. The Nest provides children with this opportunity and so helps to develop their maturity and resilience.
Nurture is not about excluding children from a quality education, it is about providing a bespoke curriculum that will ensure children have the opportunity to develop their social skills and emotional awareness. This will give them the highest chance for success in the classroom. SLT will monitor the impact on learning. The Nest is a place of learning.
The philosophy of the Nurture Room is drawn from the principles established by the work of Marjorie Boxall and others, and exemplified by ‘The Nurture Group Network’ (www.nurturegroups.org).
The Principles of Nurture
Six important principles underpin the organisation and ethos of a nurture group.
- Children’s learning is understood developmentally – the foundations of learning begin at birth and develop via a close relationship with an adult. Independence develops through dependence. Social empathy as well as learning develops from being thought about, valued and encouraged. Staff in The Nest respond to each child at whatever emotional or social age they appear to be, with the appropriate degree of control and nurture. The quality of this response enables the child to move on. Children’s developmental progress is assessed through the Boxall Profile. The Boxall profile is a series of questions covering various aspects of a child’s social and emotional development. It provides a clear and personalised picture of a child’s areas of need. If necessary the development across the curriculum in core subjects will be assessed using B squared which enables us to set targets and work on curriculum areas to show progress.
- The nurture room offers a safe base – there is structure which is predictable, adults who are reliable and firm and can set boundaries without being punitive. Children see two adults working together and supporting each other. This provides security and reassurance. The Nest environment offers a balance of educational and domestic experiences aimed at supporting the development of children’s relationship with each other and with the staff.
- The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing - nurture is listening, being responsive, remembering and engaging in reciprocal, shared activities such as play, having meals, reading, talking about events and feelings. Children respond to being valued and being thought of as individuals. This involves calling the children by their name, noticing and praising every small achievement; nothing is hurried in nurture groups.
- Language is understood as a vital means of communication – Language is more than a skill to be learnt, it is the way of putting feelings into words. Nurture Group children often ‘act out’ their feelings as they lack the vocabulary to ‘name’ how they feel. In nurture groups the informal opportunities for talking and sharing, welcoming the children into the group or having breakfast together are as important as the more formal lessons teaching language skills. Words are used instead of actions to express feelings and opportunities are created for extended conversations or encouraging imaginative play to understand the feelings of others.
- All behaviour is communication –Understanding what a child is communicating through behaviour helps staff to respond in a firm but not-punitive way by not being provoked or discouraged. If the child can sense their feelings are understood this can help to diffuse difficult situations. The adult makes the link between the external/internal worlds of the child. This principle underlines the adult response to the children’s often challenging or difficult behaviour. ‘Given what I know about this child and their development what is this child trying to tell me?’
- Transitions are significant in the lives of children – the Nurture Group helps the child make the difficult transition from home to school. However, on a daily basis there are numerous transitions the child makes, e.g. between sessions and classes and between different adults. Changes in routine are invariably difficult for vulnerable children and need to be carefully managed with preparation and support
The Role of the Nest Leaders
The Nest will be run by the SENDCo , Class teacher/deputy SENDCo and support staff. Senior leaders will be involved in formal reviews as required; to support curriculum development.
The leaders will carry out the following;
- Discussions with class teachers to make the selection and re-integration of pupils through Boxall profiles.
- Maintain the nurture principles- this is to provide a carefully structured session where there is a balance of learning and teaching, affection and structure within a home-like atmosphere.
- Organise and plan the activities and curriculum of the classroom, bearing in mind the needs of the children.
- Keep records of individual children’s progress.
- Co-ordinate the work of the Nest support staff.
- Liaise with other external professionals when appropriate
- Liaise with class teachers to share progress of pupils.
- Actively work in partnership with parents in the development of their children including organising parent meetings as well as parent/pupil sessions.
- Manage the Nest budget.
- Carry out and contribute to school policies and procedures.
The Nest Environment
The room consists of 4 areas which provide a secure, safe base for learning.
- Free choice area
- Dining area
- Comfy area
- Work area
Teaching and Learning
The children will be divided in to the most appropriate groups dependent on ability and outcomes from the Boxall profile. The children may attend for a minimum of twice a week either morning or afternoon sessions. Children attending the morning session will develop skills taken from the Boxall profile but also work on core areas of the curriculum. Children attending afternoon sessions will work on their social and emotional needs taken mainly from the Boxall profile. This may involve various projects and life skill opportunities.
Identification and Referral
The Nest supports a range of children across the school. The identification process initially starts with the class teacher. All children who are not making sufficient progress or are struggling emotionally/socially are initially discussed at pupil progress meeting with senior leaders. Teachers will then complete a referral request for The Nest. These are then discussed with the Nest Team and Head teacher. These children will then be assessed against the Boxall profile.
The Boxall Profile is a series of questions covering various aspects of a child’s social and emotional development. It provides a clear and personalised picture of a child’s areas of need. From the Boxall profiles, a group of up to 10 children are identified to form the groups. Those children who are working below the National Curriculum levels of their year group will also be assessed using B Squared Primary Steps or EYFS Early Steps to identify gaps in learning. Targets will be taken from the assessment and worked on in The Nest. Children will leave and join the group as progress is made. Parents are informed and invited to an informal session with the group leaders.
Parental support is vital to the child’s progress.
Parents sign an agreement
Communication between nurture group staff and parents is critical.
Parents should be made to feel a part of the nurture group experience.
Parents are welcome to meet with Nurture Group staff by making an appointment
The most effective length of time to be a member of a nurture group is 2-4 terms. At any time throughout this, depending on the progress of the child, a re-integration programme may begin.
This programme is developed on an individual basis for each child to slowly build them back into their mainstream class on a full time basis. The re-integration process is fully supported by Nurture Group staff, the pupil, class teacher and parents.
Our Nurture Group has two members of highly skilled staff one of whom has completed the theory and practice of a nurture group. It is overseen by senior leaders and SENDCo
In order to maintain consistency and security The Nest is never covered by supply teachers. In the event of staff absence other teaching staff may provide short term cover. However, if this is not possible the children whom access this intervention will remain with their mainstream class.
Arrangements to Monitor and Review
This policy was written in consultation with staff and Governors.
It should be read alongside other policies in school (Behaviour, SEN, Equal Opportunities etc)