Pillgwenlly Primary School Nurture Groups
About Pillgwenlly • 680 pupils on register; on site Nursery and a satellite Nursery • 90% EAL/BME; 10% WB • 33 languages spoken throughout the school • Change in population settlement; new arrivals compared to second and third generations • High deprivation area in Wales • School organised into Phases
Our Story • 2004 introduced first nurture group • 2006 introduced restorative justice techniques • 2008 introduced KS2 nurture group • 2012 introduced Family Nurture Room
Rationale • Strategy • During the previous two years there had been a significant increase in pupils arriving at Pillgwenlly who were New to English, New to the Country and New to the Educational system. • Action • We realised we needed to create an adapted version of the classic nurture room in order to assist those families requiring social and emotional support while settling into the local community and school. • In partnership with GEMS (Gwent Ethnic Minority Support), we started our ‘Family Nurture Room’ in September 2013. • It provides a place where children can learn in a nurture setting and their parents can join them for part of the week. All pupils have a ‘base class’ but attend the Family Nurture Room for 55% of their week, learning alongside their parents for 10-20% of the week and learning in their base classes for the remainder of the week with home language support. The aim being as soon as pupils have acquired skills to support them with their learning and wellbeing they transfer into their base classes full time.
Promoting a whole school approach to nurture. • Research has shown that the effectiveness of nurture groups is linked to a whole school approach to nurture. This means that schools are likely to get the best out of nurture groups: • When the school as a whole community is committed to maximising the social and educational engagement of all; • Essential that the principles underpinning nurture work are accepted and its complex and demanding nature is understood by all the staff members and others concerned with the school; • When nurture groups are fully integrated into mainstream schools • Creating meaningful actions to facilitate a more ‘nurturing’ environment throughout the school through teacher interaction and communication and exchange of good practice; • When nurture groups are positively contributing and affecting whole school culture and practices, facilitating a more ‘nurturing’ environment throughout the school.
What is a nurture group? • Nurture groups vary in nature depending on the settings in which they take place. • The main aspect of all nurturing activities have in common is a commitment to nurturing principles and a focus on using attachment theory which explains the need for any person to be able to form secure and happy relationships with others. • Most commonly, nurture groups are made up of 8-12 students with a teacher and teaching assistant. The nurture room is a bridge between school and home, and is intended to be a welcoming and relaxing environment.
How do nurture groups work? • Nurture groups vary in the actual day to day running of the group, according to the individual developmental needs of the students and the creativity of the nurture staff. However, all nurture groups have a few things in common: • Breakfast time • Sofas and soft chairs • Rewarding good behaviour
History & Background The first nurture group was set up in the London Borough of Hackney in 1970. The Nurture Group Network grew as the need for an umbrella body to oversee, train, and support nurture practitioners.
The six principles of nurture groups. • Children's learning is understood developmentally 2. The classroom offers a safe base 3. Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem 4. Language is understood as a vital means of communication 5. All behaviour is communication 6. Transitions are significant in the lives of children
How are children assessed for nurture groups? • A diagnostic tool called the Boxall Profile is used to assess how useful an individual child might find a nurture group. • This tool is a series of questions which staff answer about the child’s behaviour, their relationship with peers and adults, and their general emotional developmental level.
Nurture Staff Nurture staff work in twos, usually a teacher and teaching assistant. They model a happy, healthy, adult relationship.The interaction between teacher and teaching assistant is invaluable in showing the students how they should be behaving with their peers, as well as how it is appropriate to behave with adults.
Our Nurture Groups We currently have two Nurture Groups: Foundation Nurture Group Family Nurture Group
Our Nurture Day • Collected from Base Class • Breakfast together –sharing & talking • Classroom session for those ready, emotional support for those not ready • Playtime with rest of year group • Lunch in main hall – sit together; encouraged to eat by nurture staff • Learning continues after lunch play • Afternoon drink and biscuit- prepare things ready for home etc • Rejoin base class • Parents are encouraged to call in to speak to nurture class
Our Script… • Talk and I will listen • I care about you not for you to feel that way/behave that way • You are important to me • Putting right your wrong • Tell me how you feel • You are a good boy/girl
Some Quick Wins • Greet children at the classroom door • Feed those who need it • End of day – bus stop • Feelings barometer in classrooms • SEAL assembly • Communication diaries
Achievements It has taken some of our nurture children longer than others to become confident in forming relationships but now, having made these relationships, the children are more able to make the right choices and are now engaging in their academic learning. Parents are encouraged to play a central role in supporting their child; they are more willing to listen, learn and understand the complex nature of their children. We believe that some of the children in this group would have found school life extremely hard at times, but for the fact that they have always felt secure in the knowledge that we have always been there for them to listen and talk through their problems. This has been our priority – to enable our children to form attachments with others, to make the right choices and to understand why they make these choices – to be resilient and reflective. As a school we remain consistently optimistic of the achievement of our Nurture Group children. Evidence shows Nurture as an early intervention programme assists children in reaching their true academic performance at the End of Key Stage Two. For us as a school, during the current economic climate Nurture will be the last intervention programme this school will lose.
‘Parental Voice’ • Parents requested the opportunity of having ‘English as a Second Language Class’ - they now have this available every Tuesday afternoon, which is supported by Communities First. • Parents have gained so much confidence they now run an after school dance club • Attendance at other Family Learning Workshops eg Language and Play, Number and Play, Story Quilt Book Project has increased, including many of our new arrival families,
Closing Comment We have successfully engaged with some of our most ‘hard to reach’ and vulnerable families and formed trusting relationships. Their participation in school life has resulted in an improvement in standards and has provided those pupils with the ‘life tools’ they require to continue to achieve at High School.