The Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups

Course details

Duration: 3 full days
Time: 9:00-16:00 (unless stated otherwise)
Fee: £699 per person (excl. VAT)
Format: online via Zoom
Group size: maximum 12

What is a nurture group?

Nurture groups offer a short term, focused intervention which addresses barriers to learning arising from social, emotional, or mental health difficulties in an inclusive, supportive manner. Children and young people continue to remain part of their own class group and usually return full-time to their main class within four terms.

A nurture group is a small group of 6 to 12 children usually based in a mainstream educational setting and staffed by two supportive adults.  As well as primary settings, there are now nurture groups in early years settings, secondary schools, PRUs and special schools, (where the whole school may be classed as a ‘nurture group’) and although their organisation and time spent in the group, may be different, the principles of nurture remain the same.

Originally developed in 1969 by Educational Psychologist Marjorie Boxall, nurture groups can now be found in over 2,000 schools in the UK and internationally. 

They offer the opportunity for children to experience the early nurturing experiences some children and young people lack, giving them the skills to do well at school, have positive relationships and deal more confidently and calmly with the trials and tribulations of life, for life. 

First and foremost, nurture groups focus on supporting students to form attachments to consistent, loving and caring adults at school. Unconditional positive regard is one of the most powerful mechanisms for change.

Course overview

This course is suitable for those who wish to establish a nurture group in an education setting.

It is also appropriate for educators who want to develop nurture practice and interventions.

This programme focuses on the theory of nurture, and its significance and implications for good practice.

The Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups training course is credit rated by the Scottish Credit Qualifications Framework (SCQF.) It is a 3-day course  (attendance of all three days is a requirement), which is divided into two parts (see below) and is delivered via mix of Zoom sessions and learning platform activities.

Part 1: 2 consecutive days
Part 2: 1 day (4 - 6 weeks later)


As from April 2024 the course will also include free access to The Snack Time Bundle 

a pre-recorded webinar and digital copies of the Snack Time publication and Nurture Recipe Book.

The bundle focuses on the sharing of food in nurture settings and considers why it is such a vital part of nurture curriculum. It aims to explain the theory and research behind the snack time routine and will be helpful to nurture practitioners and those working with children with social, emotional, behavioural, mental health and speech and language difficulties to ensure that there is a whole school understanding of the rationale.

What will I learn?

This programme focuses on the theory of nurture, and its significance and implications for good practice. Key topics include: 

The theoretical framework underpinning nurture groups and nurturing approaches:

The Six Principles of Nurture

  • the relevance of early childhood experiences on the learning, development, and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • How attachment theory and neuroscience underpin the Six Principles of Nurture and nurture practices. 

The Boxall Profile®

  • The theoretical basis for The Boxall Profile®.
  • How to undertake a Boxall Profile® Assessment and interpret its findings to plan a response to pupils’ needs.

Following the training, you will also receive complimentary access to the e-learning course: Introduction to the Boxall Profile® Online course (how to create an electronic Boxall Profile Assessment online). 

Each delegate will receive:

  • Course workbook
  • The Boxall Profile® Handbook (Primary or Secondary), Beyond the Boxall Profile®
  • Paper insert for the Boxall Profile® Handbook (Primary or Secondary)
  • Complimentary access to the e-learning course: Introduction to the Boxall Profile® Online course

Delegates are invited to pre-read the materials in advance of the session.

The Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups online structure

Day One:

  • Introductions
  • Origins, context and rationale
  • Nurture Practice
  • Neuroscience and nurture groups

Day 2:

  • Attachment Theory and Nurture Groups
  • Nurture Principles into Practice
  • Assessment using the Boxall Profile
  • The assignment

Day 3

  • Re-cap and reflection
  • Ethical practice
  • The assignment
  • Planning with the Boxall Profile
  • Developing the curriculum
  • A planned approach with the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award guidance

Additional Webinar support included in the course:

  • Top tips for assignment support
  • Are you ready to submit your assignment?
  • Key components for effective nurture provision
Assessment & accreditation


After attending all three full days of training, delegates are invited to submit an assignment within twelve months of completing the programme.

The assignment structure:

Part 1 - Child Study (2,000 words);

Part 2 - Reflection on Professional Practice (2,000 words);

Part 3 - Portfolio (An appendix of relevant documents)

Delegates are provided with assignment guidance and framework to support working towards the accreditation.


On submission and gaining at least a pass grade for their assignment, delegates who undertake the SCQF credit rated Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups course will gain 13 SCQF points and receive a certificate.

The overall course has been rated as SCQF level 8. This level, along with the credit points may be recognised not only in Scotland but across the rest of the UK and Europe. For a guide on the equivalent levels across the rest of the UK and Europe please refer to:


This is a training programme for anyone who wants to establish a Nurture group, or for practitioners who work with children with behavioural, emotional and/or social and developmental needs. It is also useful for educators who want to develop nurture practice and interventions.

What delegates say

Course delegate

The pace was excellent. There was a good balance of knowledge, theory and practical examples.

Course delegate

I found it very informative and [the] content very thoroughly covered at an appropriate pace. Our trainer was very knowledgeable and answered all our questions, as well as allowing for group discussion. It has really motivated me, and I feel much more ready to take on my new role as a nurture teacher.