At Walworth School we place great value upon all children achieving their full potential through an inclusive and supportive approach. There is a recognised link between children’s sense of wellbeing and their success as learners. Within Walworth all of our children are recognised as having ranging and complex social, emotional and mental health needs so we strive to find additional means through which support can be facilitated. Whilst many flourish through access to our broad and balanced curriculum and multi-agency support for some they are simply not fully ready to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life. For these children it is intended that access to a creative, short term, focused intervention will promote longer term successes with social and emotional awareness, confidence, positive engagement and personalised learning goals. Nurture Group provision provides further opportunities for some of our most vulnerable learners to develop secure attachments with significant others which promotes age-appropriate behaviours. This work enhances relationships within their classroom and supports children in being in a ready to learn state. Our Enhanced Provision complements the nurturing approaches adopted across teaching teams . It is intended that across our whole school community a nurturing ethos will underpin this work. Through this work children will gain further access to the key curriculum drivers that the children will be exposed to in class:
- Knowledge and skills in relation to communication, reading, writing and Maths so that they are prepared for the next stage in learning
- Emotional awareness so that they are engaged, inspired and motivated pupils who enjoy and contribute to learning, make progress and are challenged to achieve above and beyond expectations
- Citizenship so that they are responsible citizens who share ‘British Values’ and have the cultural capital to make a positive contribution to life in modern Britain
- Independence so that pupils have the knowledge and skills to make informed choices, foster positive relationships and promote independence in school and their next stage of education
- Life experiences and understanding to help them to become confident individuals who are able to lead safe , healthy and fulfilling lives , making successful transitions into adulthood
Children that would benefit from access to our enhanced provision are identified by SENCOs. These children will be from across our school cohort. Information recorded within Education, Health Care Plans may support identification of needs as would data recorded through daily class feedback systems. Access may also be requested from parents or carers and multi- agency professionals. Due to the close working relationships between senior leaders, staff teaching teams and wider professionals we are quickly able to identify those children for whom Nurture Group participation would be positive. The aims of the work are discussed with parents and carers before a child accesses this additional support so that they are in agreement that attending is beneficial.
Holistic needs are then identified using a diagnostic tool called The Boxall Profile so that interventions and experiences are targeted to support specific educational and behavioural needs. Outcomes from SEN support plans are agreed between our Nurture team and class teacher and form a part of the curriculum within the provision. This is to ensure a consistent, targeted approach within both contexts. Examples of interventions relate to connecting with others, self-esteem promotion, social communication support, dealing with feelings and resilience development. Opportunities to further build upon life skills such as functional literacy and numeracy skills are also incorporated.
Our Nurture Group work takes place within The DEN (Develop Engage Nurture) and draws together the best of both classroom and home. It is a safe, welcoming and fun place to be! Nurture involves active listening and response. There is an emphasis upon adults engaging with children in reciprocal shared activities such as reading, play etc. Small achievements are praised, past successes recognised and built upon. During more challenging tasks effort and persistence is recognised with the emphasis upon how we can learn through practise, mistakes and small steps.
Most children will access two sessions weekly, each session lasting up to two hours. A timeframe of approximately two terms is allocated. We would, however, seek to ensure that a child does not miss out on special class outings, visitors or events that are important within their classroom context.
Towards the end of the intervention a second Boxall Assessment is undertaken between Nurture Group staff and the child’s teaching team so that areas of progress can be tracked. Group dynamics are careful considered when timetabling sessions for children to attend. A Personal, Social, Health and Economic curriculum focus is interwoven throughout our work with an element of choice of tasks included to promote autonomy. The National Curriculum and all school policies are taken into account.
Parents and carers are invited to join us in The Den for planned Stay and Play sessions throughout the year where work is shared and progress celebrated whilst spending quality time together.
This provision is modelled upon the six principles of nurture:
- Learning is understood developmentally – Activities are achievable for all whilst including enough challenge to support children in moving forward with their learning and recognising positive behaviours for learning. Sessions target any gaps in learning and are tailored to meet individual needs. There is a cohesion between approaches in the nurture provision and in the child’s classroom to support learning. Regular meetings between DEN practitioners and class teaching teams ensure that both settings are working towards the same goals.
- The classroom offers a safe base – ensuring that routines are predictable and approaches from adults are consistent is important within each session. The physical space is carefully arranged into four areas which include home, kitchen, play and work. These areas are used for sharing food, accessing circle time sessions, exploring stories, poems and songs, creative writing, artistic expression, problem solving, social interactions, targeted play and functional skills development. Our work is recorded in our DEN journal which is shared with those that are important to us – our class, our teachers and our parents / carers. There is also a quiet space within the DEN where children can enjoy learning about relaxation, mindfulness and wellbeing. Fostering a sense of belonging within The DEN and the classroom matters.
- Nurture is important for the wellbeing of children – reassurance, encouragement, praise and an approach whereby children are accepted for who they are today rather than what they can be tomorrow is adopted. That’s not to say we aren’t aspirational, hopes and dreams are important within The DEN as is guidance on how they could just be achieved! We recognise that sometimes mistakes are made along the way but through our restorative approach positive relationships are modelled and maintained.
- Language is a vital means of communication – within The DEN, as across the school community, responses are modelled by adults from greetings, to use of eye contact and facial expressions. Children are supported to communicate their wants and needs using words. Staff are attuned with the group and are able to encourage positive interactions and independence. Ranging emotionally vocabulary is learnt so that children are aware of how to express themselves when facing big feelings both within the provision and when interacting throughout the school day. Our work has an emphasis upon developing language and communication skills.
All behaviour is communicative:
We create a climate whereby opportunities to talk through and reflect upon feelings that may have been acted out are in place. Children are given support to find ways to verbalise challenges they may face on a day to day basis and offered strategies to manage and cope with these.
The importance of Transitions in children’s lives
For many of our children transitional points throughout the day can be a challenge. They can become anxious or overly stimulated. Preparing children for transitions by sharing what is going to happen “now” and “then” in a simple big picture format can help. Experiencing calm transitions is important and support is in place from nurture practitioners to help with transferring to and from weekly sessions.
Our initial measure will be that the children that access the DEN will view their time there as positive and present as happy and engaged when there. Student voice is important and the feedback we gather through ranging methods will feed into our provision. They will experience warm and caring relationships with adults and build friendships with peers so that they feel comfortable to try new things both within sessions and also when working within class groups. The children will be able to talk about their work and share what they have done both when accessing nurture provision and when working back in classrooms or at home.
Through liaison with class teaching teams a child’s capacity to translate skills and improved emotional vocabulary into the classroom context will be monitored. Children will present as in a ready to learn state. They will be able to communicate wants, needs and feelings verbally. Examples of good practise will be shared between nurture practitioners and teaching teams and where necessary observation within both contexts take place.
The impact of the work will be explored through seeking feedback from parents, carers, governors and external professionals. Where appropriate strategies or approaches which have been successful within the context will be shared for parents or carers to implement at home should they wish to do so.
Data gathered from staff completion of a Boxall Profile following the intervention will highlight the specific areas whereby progress has been made. Daily class record sheets should note a reduction in task refusal, negative peer interactions or a need for physical intervention for those children that attend. This date will be monitored on a termly basis.