The Timpson Review of school exclusion published in May 2019 highlighted nurture groups, saying: “they support children who have not had strong early nurturing experiences, by providing a safe and structured environment where children are encouraged to develop positive and trusting relationships with both teachers and other pupils” and that “Done well, as I have seen during this review, they can be an effective approach in reducing children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties while strengthening their academic performance. The Timpson Review’s Recommendation 8 called for the establishment of: “a Practice Improvement Fund of sufficient value, longevity and reach to support LAs, mainstream, special and AP schools to work together to establish effective systems to identify children in need of support and deliver good interventions for them”. One of the areas it highlighted for developing best practice is the “effective use of nurture groups and programmes”.
The Department for Education has published statistics showing that permanent exclusions from schools in England remained at a rate of 0.10% in the year 2017/18.
Whilst the total rate of exclusions has not risen compared to the year before, the rate remains considerably higher than before 2013. Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, a period of just four years, there was a 66% increase in the rate of permanent exclusions.
Responding to the news Kevin Kibble, Chief Executive of nurtureuk, said:
“The Timpson Review recommended that the government provide more resources to support children at risk of exclusion through a new Practice Improvement Fund.
“We are waiting for the government to confirm exactly what action it will take next and how much extra funding will go to support the interventions recommended by the Timpson Review.
“We hope the incoming Secretary of State will prioritize implementing the Timpson Review’s recommendations in full to prevent more children being excluded unnecessarily and losing out on their education.”