‘Nurture: to care and protect someone or something while they are growing.’ 

Developing Nurture in Our Schools

There has never been a more important time in education for Nurture. Children, parents, staff and our communities face an ever changing and at times unpredictable world. We believe having a whole school nurturing approach, where social, emotional and mental health is supported to form the foundations on which an academic education can be built, is fundamental for our children’s futures. 

It has been proved that well nurtured children are shown to do better at school, attend regularly, form more meaningful friendships and are significantly less likely to offend or experience physical or mental health problems.

Every one of our staff members consistently ensures that the children attending our schools are immersed in a nurturing environment which impacts positively on their developing skills 

What is Nurture? 

A nurturing approach recognises that positive relationships are central to both learning and wellbeing.  A key aspect of a nurturing approach is an understanding of attachment theory and how early experiences can have a significant impact on development.  It recognises that we all have a role to play in establishing the positive relationships that are required to promote healthy social and emotional development and that these relationships should be reliable, predictable, and consistent where possible. 

What does a Nurturing School mean? 

A Nurturing approach has been promoted as a key approach to supporting behaviour, wellbeing, attainment and achievement in schools.  Research clearly shows the impact that Nurture can have on attainment as well as social and emotional wellbeing.

The purpose of Nurture is to offer children opportunities to revisit early learning skills and promote and support their social and emotional development.  This  goes  hand  in  hand  with  a  caring,  supportive  approach  in  a  safe  and  welcoming whole school environment.

At the heart of Nurture is a focus on wellbeing and relationships and a drive to support the growth and development of children and young people. It emphasises the balance between care and challenge which incorporates attunement, warmth and connection alongside structure, high expectations and a focus on achievement and attainment.

It is based on the understanding of 6 agreed Principles of Nurture which were developed by educational professionals Eva Holmes and Eve Boyd (1999).

The Six Principles of Nurture

1. Children’s learning is understood developmentally. 

There are lots of different ways to learn.  We all feel included and learn together.  Some of us need more help or learn at a different pace which is right for us, but we are never excluded and all learning is celebrated.  

2. The class and school is a safe place to be. 

We need to have clear routines, and adults who care for us.  Our classroom rules and routines make us feel safe.  It is good to know what is going to happen.

3. Nurture is important for self-esteem. 

We all need to feel important and listened to.  Adults look after us and make us feel special.  We help each other feel good about ourselves. 

4. Language is a vital means of communication. 

We need to encourage others and use words to share our feelings.  We listen to what each other say and help each other feel happy and safe.

5. All behaviour is communication. 

Actions are also a way of seeing how children really feel.  When we feel really strongly, we sometimes cannot find the words or use our voices to talk to others.  Time to play detective, as we show our feelings through our behaviour. 

6. Transitions are significant in the lives of children. 

Even small changes can be difficult and we need time to prepare.  Adults help us get ready for what will happen next.  

More information on the principles of Nurture 

Increasing our Nurture Provision

For many of these children, a whole school nurturing approach will enable them to flourish and thrive in school.  Others benefit from more support alongside this.  

At the St Mary Federation, we aim to  increase our use of focused interventions which address barriers to learning in an inclusive, supportive manner. 

The main way that we intend to provide additional targeted intervention for those children identified is through extended Forest School provision, with support from their usual classroom teacher in addition to our qualified Forest School Leader