What is nurture?

The concept of nurture highlights the importance of social environments – who you’re with, and not who you’re born to – and its significant influence on social emotional skills, wellbeing and behaviour. Children and young people who have a good start in life are shown to have significant advantages over those who have experienced missing or distorted early attachments. They tend to do better at school, attend regularly, form more meaningful friendships and are significantly less likely to offend or experience physical or mental health problems.

The nurturing approach offers a range of opportunities for children and young people to engage with missing early nurturing experiences, giving them the social and emotional skills to do well at school and with peers, develop their resilience and their capacity to deal more confidently with the trials and tribulations of life, for life.

The six principles of nurture

Everything we do has been based on and guided by the six principles of nurture. For example, our National Nurturing Schools Programme is based on the six principles of nurture that have successfully underpinned nurturing approaches for over 50 years. 

Today there are hundreds of National Nurturing Schools around the UK. Teachers are trained to focus on emotional needs and development as well as the academic learning of all pupils, and to embed the six principles of nurture throughout the policies and practices of a school.

6 Principles of Nurture

The graduated approach to nurture

Our graduated approach to nurture ensures that every child in the school has the opportunity to flourish in their education. It ensures that every child has access to the support they need, when they need it. 

Whether they enter the education system with early childhood trauma, or experience it during their time in education, we work to measure and support the social, emotional and mental health of all children, so no child falls through the cracks.

Graduated nurture approach pyramid graphic