Nurture Group

At The Arches Community Primary School, we are fortunate enough to have a Nurture Group. In September 2016, the first intake of children were welcomed and since then, the intervention has supported many children across the school. 

In 2018, our school was awarded the Nurturing School Programme award run by the Nurture Group Network. This award is focused on making a whole school nurturing environment for children, parents/carers, staff and the wider community. The Nurture Group is run by Miss Jones and Miss Armstrong and accredited training has been undertaken by Miss Jones and Mrs Challinor. 

Our Nurture Group is a small class of pupils (6-12) which runs every afternoon, Monday to Thursday and currently takes place within KS1. The group is designed to encourage a child’s social, emotional and behavioural development through an adapted curriculum. The experiences and opportunities provided to the children are designed to enable pupils become more confident and equip them with the skills they need to reach their potential.

The Nurture Group takes place in a designated room, lovingly named by the children as ‘The Snug’. The staff provide a warm, welcoming environment for the children and are consistent, predictable and caring in their approach towards the children.

What is a Nurture Group?

Nurture Groups are a short-term, focused intervention program that works in the long term. The programme Nurture Groups are classes of between six and twelve children or young people in early years, primary or secondary settings supported by the whole staff group and parents. Each group is run by two members of staff. Children attend Nurture Groups but remain an active part of their main class group, spend appropriate times within the Nurture Group according to their need and typically return full time to their own class within two to four terms. Nurture Groups assess learning and social and emotional needs and give whatever help is needed to remove the barriers to learning. There is great emphasis on language development and communication. The relationship between the two staff provides a role model that children can observe and begin to copy. Food is shared at ‘snack time’ with much opportunity for social learning, helping children to attend to the needs of others, with time to listen and be listened to. 


  • Children's learning is understood developmentally.
  • The classroom offers a safe base.
  • Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem.
  • Language is understood as a vital means of communication.
  • All behaviour is communication.
  • Transitions are significant in the lives of children.

As the children learn academically and socially they develop confidence, become responsive to others, learn self-respect and take pride in behaving well and in achieving. Nurture Groups have been working successfully for more than 40 years in the UK and now in other countries including Canada, New Zealand and Romania.

If you are interested in finding out more information you can follow the link below to the Nurture Group Network to find out more.

Who are the Nurture Group Network?

You can find out a more information about who the Nurture Group Network are and their role by following the link provided.

A history of how nurture groups formed and the evidence to back up the impact the intervention can make can also be viewed using the following link.

Where does the Nurture Group take place?

The Nurture Group classroom is set up as a hybrid between home and school environments offering soft furnishings a kitchen and dining facilities, alongside the usual educational equipment. At the heart of the classroom is a large kitchen table where many learning opportunities take place.

The staff who work within The Snug have a clear understanding of early developmental needs of the children they serve and ensure that each area has the specific equipment and materials needed to provide learning opportunities for the children within the nurture room. 

At The Arches we are focussed on listening to the children’s views and opinions of and that the children can see that these have an impact. We asked the children to select a name of the nurture room by holding a whole school vote. ‘The Snug’ won with a landslide! We found that through letting the children choose the name this created more ownership for the children. 

Why might a child be selected to attend the Nurture Group?

There are a number of reasons that a child might be identified as benefiting from the Nurture Group intervention.

  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Struggling with pressure
  • Find it hard to listen to others or join in
  • Family illness or break up
  • Bereavement
  • Find it hard to share and take turns
  • Find it hard to settle into class
  • Friendship difficulties – keeping/making friends
  • Find it hard to accept losing a game
  • Quiet, shy, withdrawn

How do we monitor the children’s progress?

In the Nurture Group, we assess the children’s social and emotional needs using a tool called a Boxall Profile. When a teacher identifies a child a Boxall Profile will be completed. The assessment is divided into two sections - Developmental and Diagnostic. The child is assessed upon joining the programme and upon their exit. To make it impartial, the assessment is carried out by the class teacher based upon the behaviours they see within the classroom environment. Children who would benefit from the Nurture Group intervention often have low scores on the Developmental Strands and high scores on the Diagnostic section. If it is felt that the child would benefit from a Nurture Group environment the Nurture teacher will speak to the parent/carer and they will be given the opportunity to accept a place for their child to attend.

After the initial assessment is carried out targets were set to support the child in the areas identified through the Boxall Profile. These are carefully addressed by the nurture practitioner using a variety of strategies i.e. one to one time with a teacher, circle time, listening and attention games, group snack sharing etc.

The expectation is that the Developmental scores increase and that the Diagnostic scores reduce over time.

What has been the impact of the Nurture Group here at The Arches Community Primary School?

The intervention is designed to raise a child’s emotional well-being, self-esteem and develop a sense of belonging to the school community.

The graph below is a real example of the progress made by a specific child in the Nurture Group. (In the interest of confidentiality all names have been removed). 

Progress: The results show that throughout their time in the Nurture Group, CHILD A has made significant progress in all of the Developmental strands.

CHILD A has worked extremely hard and has managed to substantially reduce the scores within the Diagnostic section meaning good progress has been made within this area also. In some cases CHILD A has even managed to eliminate any previous issues/concerns. 

What can I do to support my child’s social and emotional wellbeing?

For more information, ideas and fun activities on how you can support your child’s development please follow the links below:

The nurturing doesn’t stop there…

At The Arches we take the wellbeing of our children, parents/carers and staff very seriously.

In order to monitor the wellbeing of all children, staff teams, together with parents, if necessary, complete Strength and Difficulty Questionnaires (SDQs) termly. A working called the ‘Wellbeing Team’, which comprises of colleagues with different strengths and experiences, meet regularly to identify the appropriate social and emotional intervention for individual children following teacher referrals or irregular SDQ scores. The young person’s progress is tracked through further SDQs and/or Boxall Profiles.

The ‘Wellbeing Team’

Head teacher – Mrs Ashfield (Nurture Trained)

Nurture Group  – Miss Jones and Miss Armstrong

Head of Enhanced Provision - Mrs Wilkins 

SENCo – Miss Johnson 

Learning Mentor – Mrs Plested (trained in various non-academic interventions)

We are fortunate enough to be able to provide a variety of intervention programs to address specific needs. The interventions available include, to name a few: Heart Math, My Happy Mind, ELSA and Drawing for Talking.

Within the school there are a number of designated areas available to carry out these essential interventions.

The Lounge

The Quiet Place

The Sanctuary

In recognition of the hard work we have done, in supporting children’s social and emotional needs, the school was presented with the Attachment Friendly School Award. Something we are very proud of!

At The Arches we believe we have strong relationships with our parents and view this as a fundamental tool in supporting children to the best of our abilities. To support with this The Snug hosts a variety of courses and meetings to support parents. Some of these courses include: e-safety, emergency first aid, reading workshops, ADHD awareness and management, sleep courses, support with toileting and many more.