Nurture and youth work: aiding transition


Fiona Durrant 

Affiliation: YMCA George Williams College, 199 Freemasons Rd, London E16 3PY, UK
Corresponding author: Fiona Durrant,
Published online on 28 April 2017

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In recent years, nurture groups (NGs) have maintained a positive growth whereas targeted youth work in schools has diminished. Transition into secondary education is a crucial time for a young person, and this research examines the crossovers between youth work and nurture groups, exploring how these interventions support transition for young people.

Literature shows overlaps between nurture and youth work, although neither specifically mentions the other and both remain independent. The research covers three key themes: the value in using NGs to support secondary transition, the specialist nature of NGs, and the overlaps between NGs and youth work, defined by the National Youth Agency as: “…the science of enabling young people to believe in themselves and build positive futures…Youth work takes a holistic approach…its starts where they are at” (National Youth Agency, 2017). Youth work takes place in communities and schools, and “offers young people safe spaces to explore their identity, experience decision-making, increase their confidence”. Youth work is governed by a code of ethical conduct, released in 2004, that states: “The purpose of youth work is to facilitate and support young people’s growth through dependence to interdependence, by encouraging their personal and social development and enabling them to have a voice, influence and place in their communities and society” (National Youth Agency, 2004).

The research took a pragmatic, mixed methods approach and was undertaken with professionals from a wide range of disciplines with an interest in the transition to secondary schools; including youth workers, teachers, and CAMHS practitioners.

Findings suggest there are significant similarities between youth work and nurture, and transition from primary to secondary schools should be considered holistically alongside intervention work. Similarities are such that both sets of practitioners would benefit from sharing expertise and learning opportunities.

nurture groups, youth work,primary-secondary transition

Durrant, F. (2017) Nurture and youth work: aiding transition. The International Journal of Nurture in Education, 3(1), 31-44.