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What is Nurture?

At Rushbrook Primary Academy our aim is to ensure that we provide an inclusive, creative curriculum that can be accessible to all. As a school, we use varied approaches from The National Nurturing Schools Programme to improve the Mental Health and Wellbeing of children. We support children by removing barriers to learning by promoting nurture in education through NurtureUK Principles.

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:

· Children are identified by referrals from teachers. Referrals are made for various reasons.

· Is a small discrete group of around 6-8 pupils.

· Provides a safe and predictable structured environment.

Sessions are well planned according to the targets on the child’s Boxall Profile’s assessment tool. As well as developing curriculum-based skills, children are encouraged to celebrate their own progress with acquiring skills such as listening, life skills, sharing and turn-taking that will reduce or remove barriers to learning thus enabling success back in the mainstream classroom. The impact of sessions is measured Termly.

What are the benefits?

We have a variety of options within our nurture groups, in the Rainbow Room, this provides a safe, predictable and structured space to further the child with their emotional and social development, supporting their Mental Health and Wellbeing and removing some of the barriers to learning.

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.

In 2023-2024, we launched Family Nurture Groups, which is a fun, safe, non-judgemental, encouraging, and understanding environment for Parents/ Carers to enjoy time with their children and other families. If you are interested in joining a Friday morning session, please contact Desilda Lowe or Soraya Wallace:

How will the Nurture help my child?

The approach will help to develop:

· Self-esteem and confidence

· A good feeling about school

· A sense of belonging

· Language and number

· Sharing and taking turns

· Stronger links between their family and school

· Readiness for learning

For more information, please visit:

Meet the Team:

Desilda Lowe, our established Senior Pastoral Lead and Adult/ Child Mental Health Practitioner runs, plans and delivers school’s Nurture groups. She has experience of working with pupils with SEMH and their families, helping them to remove some of the barriers to learning and successfully progress and learn.

Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust
Rushbrook Primary Academy
101 Shillingford Road
Gorton, Manchester M18 7TN