The benefits of further reading when preparing your assignment

18 October 2017 – From an NGN Anonymous Assessor


All practitioners attending the Theory & Practice of Nurture Groups have to complete an assignment to obtain the training certificate. This is a chance for you to spend time using the skills you’ve been trained on and to reflect on your practice. Practitioners submitting an assignment are encouraged to do further reading, but how can they benefit from this? Today one of our assessors shares ideas on the importance of further reading. 

As an NGN assessor I have read hundreds of assignments from candidates with wide ranging backgrounds. The majority of these candidates are teaching assistants who are very experienced practitioners with a comprehensive knowledge of pupils’ needs yet they have not had the opportunity (or time!) to extend their reading in a particular nurture group related topic.

Although Part 1 of the assignment  is important (identifying specific targets through a rigorous analysis of the Boxall Profile), I feel Part 2 of the assignment gives candidates an excellent opportunity for critical reflection on their practice based on theories that underpin nurture group provision. I have come across excellent examples of practitioners’ reflections, and many of these were made excellent because of further reading of relevant books and websites.

I feel the challenge for candidates new to the world of academic research is finding articles that are easy to read, as they are written for fellow academics using vocabulary that many of us do not understand. This can easily discourage candidates new to the world of academic writing!

In the assignment guidance booklet provided during training, we have included a comprehensive reading list to encourage practitioners to further their knowledge and learn more about topics of particular interest to them. The books and websites have been selected to cover a wide range of themes important for the practice of nurture provision, while making sure they remain accessible to practitioners and teachers who may not be familiar with academic reading.

As an assessor I would encourage practitioners to spend time doing further reading. Frequently, candidates express the view that it has helped them understand the theory behind their practice, giving them the confidence to develop their practice and try out new ideas, for example changing the layout of the nurture group room or revising their curriculum planning. It also provides an opportunity to learn more about the evidence supporting nurture provision and find research relevant to your own context. 

Altogether, doing further reading while preparing for your assignment can give you valuable insights into the theory of nurture and is a first step towards making your practice more evidence-based. In our next blog post, we'll be sharing with you resources to broaden your knowledge and help you keep growing as a practitioner! 

If you have any questions regarding assignments, please contact Melisa at