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A Brief Background

Nurture groups form part of Peartree's Well-being and Inclusion provision – they are teacher led intervention groups of less than 12 pupils.


Our Nurture groups originally started in September 2016 with provision for just KS2, but the range of care has now been extended across the key stages. There are currently 4 Nurture Groups – The Year 1 and Year 2 groups meet in the Woodland Room, while the 3/4 and 5/6 groups meet in the Meadow.

The Purpose of Our Nurture Groups

Our Nurture groups offer children opportunities to re-visit early nurturing experiences and develop childhood skills. We focus on emotional and social skills as well as academic progress. There is much evidence that children’s learning is most effective when they have a good sense of emotional well- being, a good level of self-esteem and a strong feeling of belonging. The Nurture groups provide children with this opportunity and so helps to develop their maturity and resilience. We achieve this in school by immersing such children in an accepting and warm environment which helps develop positive relationships with both teachers and their peers.


The Theory and Principles of Nurture Groups

The theory behind Nurture groups centres around the notion of attachment - the emotional bond we develop to a significant other. They were established in the 1960’s by Majorie Boxall. Her theories continue to be put into practice by many schools around the country, ‘The Nurture Group Network’ ( and has been recognised by Ofsted (2011).


All Nurture groups around the country run on the same 6 principles:


1. Children's learning is understood developmentally

We respond to the child’s developmental progress rather than what it should be at their age. This is assessed using the Boxall Profile.


2. The classroom offers a safe base

We have organised our room so that it has a balance of educational and domestic experiences, hence the sofa, soft furnishings mixed with the classroom room feel. The children and adults often remark how comfortable and inviting the rooms are.


3. Nurture is important for the development of wellbeing

We praise the children for their efforts and help them identify their strengths and qualities through a range of tasks. Children respond to being valued and thought of as individuals - we notice and praise their achievements.


4. Language is a vital means of communication

Each group uses a ‘feelings check in’ so that children can identifying and discuss their feelings. We find ways to manage them. We notice and talk through many things – the adults constantly model the use of language and encourage the children to do the same.  


5. All behaviour is communication

We try to understand what a child’s challenging behaviour is telling us. We say that emotions are automatic reactions which we cannot choose, but the way we then act is a choice. We need to make the right choices in our behaviour and understand it’s impact on ourselves and other.


6. Transition is important in children's lives

Daily transitions between classes, from one adult to the next and from home to school, are all changes in routine that can be difficult for some children. This is managed with preparation and support.

What happens in a Nurture session?

High expectations are set by the adults of the group and the children are always reminded of this. Behaviour within the groups are managed according the school’s behaviour policy. The sessions are designed to help the children manage situations and increase their skills to become more successful learners.


A typical afternoon consists of:


- Feelings check in: How are we feeling and why? This is also a time for children to share any news that they may have.


- In depth discussion and creative activity: This may centre around an emotional or social theme, or a festival (i.e. Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day). It may involve gardening and even cooking!


- Free choice time: Children use their developing social skills to engage in games, role play or other fun activities with others in the group. It is also a time for the adults to engage in conversation with the children and other adults within the group, to model positive relationships with others.


- Sharing of a snack and drink: The children are invited to have a piece of fruit and drink. They practise using good table manners and develop their conversation and interests in a variety of topics.


- Relaxation and reflection time: We often read a story, engage in mindfulness activities, yoga or positive reflection time.

Where do the sessions take place?

The Nurture rooms are designed to be a safe and secure place, while providing a domestic, creative and academic atmosphere. We have a home area with a sofa and soft furnishing, as well as a crafting area and tables arranged to form a mini classroom. In addition to this, the KS1 Woodland Room has a role play area and sand/water tray corner to suit the developmental needs of the children.

How can my child be part of a Nurture Group?

Peartree has a hugely nurturing whole school ethos – every child is valued for their individuality. High expectations are set for both learning and behaviour and continual input from staff is helping to build each child’s self-esteem, resilience and growth mindset.


Nurture groups are not groups for “naughty” children.


Your child may be considered to attend tailored Nurture Group sessions for specific reasons, for example:


- Friendship difficulties – keeping and making friends

- Shy, quiet or withdrawn

- Finding it hard to listen to others or join in

- Disruptive towards others

- Finding it hard to accept losing in a game

- Finding it hard to share and take turns

- Low esteem

- Bereavement

- Family illness or break-up


How will a Nurture Group help my child?

Nurture groups aim to build confidence, self-esteem and resilience, as well as providing children with the extra help sometimes needed to improve social skills.


It also aims to improve your child’s ability to:


- Join in

- Settle

- Listen and concentrate

- Recognise and verbalise emotions

- Manage difficult emotions effectively

- Build friendships

- Encourage positive relationships between themselves and members of staff.


How long will my child be in a Nurture Group?

Children attend the afternoon sessions on a part time basis – usually 2 afternoons a week. However, we ensure that the children do not miss special assemblies, guests in school, trips or anything else that may be different from the normal routine of the week. Their length of time within the group is dependent on their needs and progress, but they tend to be in for a minimum of 2 terms.


How are parents/carers involved?

Parents/carers are required to give their permission for their child to attend the nurture sessions. Parent/carers are updated on their child’s progress during consultations evenings and open afternoons. We are looking to increase the parent/carer involvement through invitations to join in a craft activity or afternoon tea and a chat.


If your child is currently in our Nurture Provision and would like to discuss this any further, please do not hesitate to contact the office so they can make an appointment the Nurture Provision Leader, Mrs Proud.

Nurture Group Team


Mrs R. Proud

Nurture Provision Leader/Teacher (KS1 and KS2)


Mrs W. O’Donoghue

Nurture Group Learning Assistant (KS1 and KS2)


Miss P. Barker

Nurture Group Learning Assistant (KS1)


Miss H. Stewart

Nurture Group Learning Assistant (KS1)


Miss T. Nunes

Nurture Group Learning Assistant (KS2)


Miss S. Holton

Nurture Group Learning Assistant (KS1)

Useful Links


Paper Weaving – builds resilience to situations that are tricky, self esteem and pride in a finished task.


Getting children to use kind words


Some useful ideas for managing difficult emotions


A useful recipe for playdough – fun to make and great for manipulating while talking.