One of the most effective ways to support pupils with their social, emotional and mental health needs is by implementing a whole-school approach to nurture. The perfect example of a school that has embedded a whole-school nurturing culture is Wilds Lodge School in Oakham. This school has created a strong ethos which has been developed by the staff and they have focused on building meaningful relationships with the pupils. This is the vision that the founder of the school, Robin Lee, had in mind when he opened the school in 2007.
Sadly Robin passed away earlier this year, but he has left behind a great legacy at Wilds Lodge School, having had a very positive impact on the lives of pupils and their families. Robin put an equal emphasis on the educational, social and psychological development of pupils. He received an MBE in 2010 for the fantastic work he did over the years with children who have Special Educational Needs (SEN). Robin was a keen advocate for nurture and he wanted every child to have the opportunity to flourish with their education. The school family misses him deeply but his legacy will continue to live on at Wilds Lodge.
Wilds Lodge School is an independent specialist boarding and day provision for boys aged between 5 and 18 who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Every pupil has a Statement of SEN or Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The main needs of pupils who have SEN at the school are social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Moderate Learning Difficulties.
Nurtureuk’s CEO Arti Sharma and Consultant Training Officer, Claire Wilson, were recently invited to visit the school for the grand opening of Robin’s Nest, the school’s new nurture building, named in memory of Robin Lee. Arti later commented “I wanted to say a huge thank you for inviting nurtureuk to the launch of Robin’s Nest. I had such a great time with the teachers and children and feel very privileged for being able to see first hand such a fantastic school. It was truly amazing, Robin would be proud of what the team at Wilds Lodge have created and I applaud each and every staff member for the nurturing environment they have created for those lovely children.”
Wilds Lodge Nurture Group Coordinator, Cherida Gibson, is responsible for leading the nurture groups at the school and she works closely with every child to ensure that their needs are met. Cherida is trained in the Theory & Practice of Nurture Groups programme and she also holds a certificate in Therapeutic Play. She uses the Boxall Profile® assessment tool to assess pupil’s social and emotional needs, as well as supporting the classroom referral and transition process.
Cherida commented: “’Robin was an incredible person, who’s vision has led to so many children and young people with SEMH difficulties getting the support that they so desperately needed. Robin was always the biggest supporter of our nurture provision, and I was so proud to name the new building ‘Robin’s Nest’ after him in September. We will be forever grateful for everything he did for us at Wilds Lodge School, and we will ensure that we continue the amazing work that he started.”
Nurture is all about supporting and valuing children, and helping them to overcome barriers to learning. This is what is being achieved at Wilds Lodge School thanks to the passionate and highly-experienced staff. The 6 Principles of Nurture is at the heart of everything they do and they have ensured that every child has the necessary access to the support they need. To see more information about the nurturing approach at Wilds Lodge, please take a look at their website by clicking here.