Educational leaders to celebrate nurturing approaches in Welsh schools

21 November 2018 

Teachers and pupils from across Wales are gathering today to celebrate the positive impact of in-school nurture approaches on emotional wellbeing and resilience.  Education Secretary Kirsty Williams and other Welsh Assembly Members will meet with teachers and pupils from schools using whole-school nurturing approaches at a celebratory event sponsored by Jayne Bryant AM. 

The event coincides with a national shift to a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health and wellbeing for children and young people, announced by the Welsh Government in September. The new multi-agency approach will seek to ensure that mental health and wellbeing becomes central to the way schools work to contribute to a population of emotionally resilient and healthy children and young people in Wales.

Four schools will display interactive exhibits demonstrating the positive impact of nurture groups at the Assembly event, which has been organised by nurtureuk, the charity supporting the establishment and development of nurturing approaches to understanding and tackling social emotional and behavioural difficulties in schools across the UK.

Kevin Kibble, Chief Executive of nurtureuk, said: “Our National Nurturing Schools Programme currently supports 23 schools in Wales to embed nurturing principles in all aspects of their work. A whole-school approach is crucial to improving young people’s wellbeing, allowing schools to improve educational outcomes for pupils while also supporting their long-term character development and emotional growth. I look forward to the growth of nurturing approaches as part of the Welsh Government’s ambition to make mental health and wellbeing central to the way schools work.”

The National Nurturing Schools Programme is based on six principles which underpin the nurturing approach, emphasising a developmental understanding of learning, behaviour and language as communication, and the importance of the classroom as a safe base in the context of transition in children’s lives. Nurtureuk encourages schools to use the educational psychologist-designed Boxall Profile tool to understand their pupils’ wellbeing and behavioural needs and ensure support is appropriately targeted.

Assembly Member Jayne Bryant, sponsor of the event, said: “The examples on display today show that a whole-school approach offers significant benefits to the wellbeing of young people with complex needs. We know that early prevention and intervention are crucial to children’s long-term wellbeing, and that schools are a key environment for this. Nurturing approaches support greater academic attainment, improved behaviour and attendance, and reduced school exclusions. I’ve seen on visits to Pillgwenlly Primary in my constituency just how much children, parents and teachers have benefitted. The Welsh Government’s whole-school approach means that this can hopefully be replicated in schools across the country.”