A nurture group is a focused, short-term intervention for primary or secondary school pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, which make it harder for them to learn in a mainstream class.
A nurture group is a school-based intervention run by two members of staff with up to twelve pupils. The aim is to replace missing early experiences by developing positive pupil relationships with both teachers and peers in a supportive environment. Effective nurture group practice follows the Six Principles of Nurture. Our assessment tool the Boxall Profile® determines which pupils would require to be in the nurture group based on their social, emotional, and mental health needs.
How do nurture groups help?
Nurture groups are designed to address the social and emotional needs that can hamper pupils’ learning. So as well as providing academic teaching, the group is designed to help children develop vital social skills, to develop confidence and self-respect, and to take pride in behaving well and in achieving.
In nurture groups, there’s a special emphasis on language development and communication: nothing is taken for granted and everything is clearly explained by the staff, with the help of demonstrations and (where helpful) physical gestures. Pupils are given the time they need both to listen and be listened to.
Nurture groups are also designed to give pupils vital opportunities for social learning – for example by encouraging them to share food at breakfast and snack time, and to help other pupils in the group. The friendly, supportive relationship between the two members of staff is also itself an important source of learning – a model for the pupils to observe and copy.
Nurture is a tried and tested way of relating to children that helps them develop vital social skills, confidence and self-esteem, and become ready to learn.
The nurturing approach to education offers a range of opportunities for children and young people to engage with missing early nurturing experiences, giving them the social and emotional skills to do well at school and with peers, and to develop their resilience and self-confidence. It encourages pupils to take pride in achieving – addressing the social and emotional needs that can hamper learning.