A pilot study of the effectiveness of a nurture group in a secondary special school


Lisa Lyon 

Affiliation: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
Corresponding author: Lisa Lyon, lisalyon33@gmail.com
Published online on 28 April 2017

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Nurture groups (NGs) are an intervention intended to meet the needs of pupils identified as having social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). They are temporary, mostly part-time, and designed to provide pupils with the skills to successfully reintegrate into mainstream school (Boxall, 2002). Previous research has been focused on the effectiveness of NGs within primary schools; only more recently has research examined their effectiveness within the secondary sector. In primary settings NGs have been seen to be effective in improving pupils’ social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. This action research project aimed to explore the potential benefits of a NG within a specialist setting for pupils with SEBD.

This qualitative study combined the use of semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and observations of pupils, alongside examination of quantitative data gathered prior to the implementation of the NG, and throughout the year. The results go some way to corroborate findings from previous research projects, in that clear improvements in terms of behaviour and social skills were perceived to have taken place across the year. Parents and staff agreed that the pupils’ social skills, and subsequently their readiness to learn, had improved. The limitations of the study, most noticeably the sample size and lack of control group, require that further investigation be undertaken, with a larger sample and adjustments to mitigate the limitations, enabling more robust evidence to be gathered.

nurture groups, secondary special school, social emotional behavioural difficulties

Lyon, L. (2017) A pilot study of the effectiveness of a nurture group in a secondary special school, The International Journal of Nurture in Education, 3(1), 6-17.