Whole-school approach to nurture

Why nurture matters

When we use the word ‘nurture’, we’re talking about the social factors that shape the development of children and young people: who they spend time with, instead of who they were born to. 

Born from an understanding of how children learn and develop, a nurturing approach to learning addresses the impact of a pupil’s social environment on their emotional wellbeing, their social skills, and how ready they are to engage in school and the wider community.    

By addressing missing nurturing experiences, teachers can help pupils to develop the social skills they need to thrive, and the confidence and resilience to deal with whatever life throws at them – not just at school, but for the rest of their lives.

Small children eating toast around a table
A group of school children and a teacher doing an experiment on a table

Taking a whole-school approach to nurture

The process of developing a nurturing culture will be different for every school. It isn’t about signing up to an off-the-shelf programme, but about looking at a school’s core beliefs, its knowledge of its pupils’ needs, and its commitment to supporting them to achieve their very best.  

Underpinned by Quality First Teaching and an understanding that a nurturing approach promotes healthy outcomes for pupils by responding to their emotional needs, the process is supported by several key tools and resources which are detailed below.

An assessment tool which provides an overview of pupils’ social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, and how to respond to them – both in the classroom and with specific nurturing interventions. 

Developed by educational experts Eva Holmes and Eve Boyd in 1999, these are the core principles that should inform any nurturing culture and ethos.  

A short-term intervention providing focused support to pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which make it harder for them to learn in a mainstream class.

Part of the graduated approach

Our graduated approach to nurture ensures that every child in the school has the opportunity to flourish in their education. Through this approach, we work to measure and support the social, emotional and mental health of all children, so no child falls through the cracks.

The graduated approach to nurture infographic

Recommended training courses and awards

Teacher reading book to a group of primary school children

National Nurturing Schools Programme

An accreditation framework for schools to implement a whole-school nurturing culture and ethos.

Male teacher talking to high school pupils in an art class

National Nurturing Schools Award

An award for schools that have created a whole-school nurturing culture for the children and young people in their care.