What is a Nurture Group?
A nurture group:
· is a small supportive class of up to 12 children usually in a mainstream Primary School.
· provides a secure, predictable environment where the different developmental needs of each pupil are catered for.
· is staffed by two adults, usually a teacher and a learning support assistant and pupils attend regularly for a substantial part of each week.
· focuses on emotional and social development as well as academic progress.
· ensures pupils remain on their mainstream class roll with an expectation that they will return to their class in 2- 4 terms.
Characteristics of nurture groups
Nurture groups have a number of characteristics that should be evident in practice. These were developed by the Nurture Groups Research Project in consultation with members of the Nurture Group Network and staff working in nurture groups. They have been discussed and used extensively by participants on the Certificate course, The Theory and Practice of Nurture Group Work and are key elements for the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award.
A nurture group should:
· Be located clearly within the policies and structures of a local authority or school continuum of special educational needs provision, either as an integral part of an individual school or as a resource for a cluster of schools.
· Ensure that children attending the nurture group remain members of a mainstream class where they register daily and attend selected activities.
· Have a pattern of attendance whereby children spend part of each day in the nurture group or attend for regular sessions during the week.
· Be staffed by two adults working together modelling good adult relationships in a structured and predictable environment, which encourages children to begin to trust adults and to learn.
· Offer support for children's positive emotional and social growth and cognitive development at whatever level of need the children show by responding to them in a developmentally appropriate way.
· Supply a setting and relationships for children in which missing or insufficiently internalised essential early learning experiences are provided.
· Ensure that relevant national curriculum guidelines are followed for all children
· Be taken full account of in school policies, participate fully, and be fully considered in the development and review of policies.
· Offer short or medium term placements, usually for between two and four terms, depending on the child's specific needs.
· Ensure placement in the group is determined on the basis of systematic assessment in which appropriate diagnostic and evaluative instruments have been used, with the aim always being to return the child to full-time mainstream provision.
· Place an emphasis on communication and language development through intensive interaction with an adult and with other children.
· Provide opportunities for social learning through co-operation and play with o thers in a group with an appropriate mix of children.
· Monitor and evaluate their effectiveness in promoting the positive social, emotional and educational development of each child.
· Recognise the importance of quality play experiences in the development of children's learning.
Summary - What is a Nurture Group?
· Small supportive group of pupils, selected due to social and emotional needs
· Run by 2 staff, one of whom has completed the 4 day accredited training, who model good relationships
· Pupils attend regularly for a substantial part of the day
· Link with own class for appropriate activities
· The focus is on emotional/social development as well as academic progress
· Pupils remain on mainstream class roll
· Expectation that they return to own class in 2 – 4 terms
The Classic model
· Group of up to 12 children
· Children attend all day, Monday to Friday (except Friday morning)
· Staffed by a teacher and classroom assistant
The “New” Primary Model
· Groups of no more than 9
· KS1 (4-7 yrs) 4 mornings or afternoons
· KS2 (7-11 yrs) 4 mornings or afternoons
· Friday AM for planning, meeting, observing etc, Wednesday PM for parent work
· Run by 2 staff, one of whom has completed the 4 day accredited training
· KS3 group/ groups run along the lines of ‘new primary model’ in an informal ‘classroom’ with cooking facilities, sofa, dining table and chairs (set up similarly to Nurture room/ suite in Primary setting) overseen by senior teacher/ SENCo and staffed by 2 qualified staff (HLTA’s) plus other ‘visiting’ staff for particular sessions such as outdoor activities
· A ‘primary’ classroom (within the Nurture room/ suite setting) children extra time to settle into the secondary organisation, slowly integrating into classes as the term progresses
· A short term support and development group identifying areas of difficulty and liaising between teachers and pupils to ease difficulties with transition (within Nurture room/ suite)
Please note: Some groups run using nurturing principles, but these are not nurture groups. These may include: