Afon Tâf High School in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, is a fantastic example of how implementing a whole-school approach to nurture can support the social, emotional and mental health needs of pupils. The school is “somewhere pupils want to be”, where “staff go the extra mile with phone calls, home visits, a uniform and prom outfits bank, and even birthday presents because they know their pupils as individuals, and they want the very best for them.” (NNSA report, 2022)
Dominic Gubb, Senior Director of Learning at Afon Tâf, was instrumental in implementing the nurturing approach that led to the school achieving the National Nurturing School Award in October 2022 – a real testament to all his hard work and commitment. The award report highlighted the “unabashed level of care, love and kindness staff at all levels have for every pupil”, and the “sense of pride and belonging pupils have for their school.”
We were very saddened to hear of the sudden loss of Dominic on 15 December 2022. It is clear from the memories shared by the school and the nurtureuk consultants who worked with him, that he was a dedicated and caring educator who made a significant impact on his students and the wider school community.
Colleagues described him as a man “who made a lasting impression, he was unique. He was at Afon Tâf for 31 years, he was universally loved, respected and appreciated by our whole school community, and is dearly missed.”
Nurtureuk consultant Julie Hall worked as the assessor on Afon Tâf’s National Nurturing Schools Award application. She commented “Dominic certainly did make an impression on me with his humour, good nature and those fine whiskers. I felt welcomed as he proudly introduced me to the work of the school. On the accreditation day, I knew immediately that the team leading the NNSP had done a great job, and that Dominic very much had a personal commitment to bringing nurturing approaches to the school. He embodied nurture through his love, respect and aspirations for the young people and the community.
How sad I was then to hear of his too-early death. The other day while supporting a school with their NNSP application, I immediately brought out the Afon Tâf application to use as an example of excellence, and in describing Dominic and Afon Tâf to them, I talked about the genuine love and care shown for their pupils.”
Afon Tâf’s nurturing approach has left a lasting impression on nurtureuk staff: “These efforts, this feeling of community seems to me to be at the very heart of #TeamTaf”.