The Six Principles of Nurture
Everything we do is underpinned by the six principles of nurture.
Children’s learning is understood developmentally
In nurture groups/school staff respond to children not in terms of arbitrary expectations about ‘attainment levels’ but in terms of the children’s developmental progress assessed through the Boxall Profile Handbook. The response to the individual child is ‘as they are’, underpinned by a non-judgmental and accepting attitude.
The classroom/school offers a safe base
The organisation of the environment and the way the group is managed contains anxiety. The nurture classroom offers a balance of educational and domestic experiences aimed at supporting the development of the children’s relationship with each other and with the staff. The nurture group is organised around a structured day with predictable routines. Great attention is paid to detail; the adults are reliable and consistent in their approach to the children.
Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem
Nurture involves listening and responding. In a nurture group/school ‘everything is verbalised’ with an emphasis on the adults engaging with the children in reciprocal shared activities e.g. play / meals / reading /talking about events and feelings. Children respond to being valued and thought about as individuals, so in practice this involves noticing and praising small achievements; ‘nothing is hurried in nurture groups/schools’.
Language is understood as a vital means of communication
Language is more than a skill to be learnt, it is the way of putting feelings into words.
Nurture group children often ‘act out’ their feelings as they lack the vocabulary to ‘name’ how they feel. In nurture groups/schools the informal opportunities for talking and sharing, e.g. welcoming the children into the group or having breakfast together are as important as the more formal lessons teaching language skills. Words are used instead of actions to express feelings and opportunities are created for extended conversations or encouraging imaginative play to understand the feelings of others.
All behaviour is communication
This principle underlies the adult response to the children’s often challenging or difficult behaviour. ‘Given what I know about this child and their development, “what is this child trying to tell me?’ Understanding what a child is communicating through behaviour helps staff to respond in a firm but non-punitive way by not being provoked or discouraged. If the child can sense that their feelings are understood this can help to diffuse difficult situations. The adult makes the link between the external / internal worlds of the child.
Transitions are significant in the lives of children
The nurture group helps the child make the difficult transition from home to school. However, on a daily basis there are numerous transitions the child makes, e.g. between sessions and classes and between different adults. Changes in routine are invariably difficult for vulnerable students and need to be carefully managed with preparation and support.
Using the Nurture Principles in a Curriculum setting for Key Stage 3
Significant research has gone into looking at models of nurture provision suitable for Key Stage 3 children.
The model we are working with combines the principles of nurture provision in a format students can easily recognise. We will then work with students to set appropriate personal goals and help them to achieve.
It is our commitment to ensure all students have the opportunity to experience success under each of our headings, to create a personalised curriculum.
The Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Students will be taught through Project based work. Projects will be two weeks long.
The aims of our curriculum are:
- To develop self-esteem
- To develop communication skills and cooperation with others
- To secure literacy and numeracy
- To enjoy school life and understand its relevance to their own lives
They will complete a series of activities that will always be underpinned by:
- PSHE & Self-regulation
- Creative & Dynamic Learning
- Awareness Days (such as World Book Day)
Students will have the opportunity to achieve nationally recognised certificates from AQA as part of the completion of each project.
Curriculum Overview KS4
At Roundwood School, we are proud to say that our Key Stage 4 curriculum is entirely bespoke, depending wholly on student confidence, need, abilities and understanding. Students are taught in small groups, based on a nurture model and receive therapeutic support from our partners, Unlocking Potential.
Key Stage 4 learners are supported to build their confidence, achieve personal goals and attain the skills, knowledge and understanding to underpin exam success and progress to further education and employment.
Our curriculum focuses upon the core subjects of English and Maths and is supplemented by ICT and PSHE courses. Courses can be accessed at Entry level through to GCSE, depending upon the student.
We will also support students in obtaining other GCSE’s, where this is viable and appropriate, including Home Languages, where a qualification exists for these.
When a student joins us, we will assess immediately where a student is and formulate an action plan that has in it the steps to achieve the qualifications necessary to progress beyond Roundwood.
Action Plans will be entirely personal and appropriate to the students. As a Headteacher with over 20 years experience in education and with a fully committed staff, we are confident of creating a personalised curriculum for students with appropriate stepping stones and markers for success. Essentially, each child will be supported by an individualised Scheme of Work, appropriate to them. Assessment Dates and Submission Dates of assessed work for their qualifications will be incorporated into the action plan, so that there is clarity on deadlines. Appropriate planning can then support the student with meeting these deadlines.