In a sense, I joined nurtureuk (formerly The Nurture Group Network) before there was a network to join. In 2001, Marion Bennathan (now Life President at the Nurture Group Network) invited me to a meeting of 20 people in London. Over the next couple of years the group met several times, holding various unofficial titles, but we continued to be inspired by the possibilities we discussed, most of which are now embedded within nurtureuk: training, publications, becoming a charity, developing a quality mark award. The only thing we couldn’t do was to patent the word ‘nurture’ because it was already used too widely. I feel privileged to have been actively involved in some of the publications and in specific projects, such as the Excel software for scoring the Boxall Profile and the first census of nurture groups in the UK.
During my teaching career I have run a classic-model secondary nurture group and a new-model primary Key Stage 2 nurture group. Despite having my shins kicked more than once, I know that nurture groups work. The children I worked with then are now adults, some even with children of their own. They are happy, polite and confident members of the community and have an obvious purpose in life, but still always find time to stop and chat.
My role became more strategic after my retirement from teaching, initially working for nurtureuk as a Regional Co-ordinator, and now for Warwickshire County Council as a specialist advisory teacher for nurture groups.
I have enjoyed all aspects of the work. I have been an assessor for the MBQMA and an accredited trainer for nurtureuk’s Certificate Course. The opportunity to advise, monitor and evaluate nurture groups has once again given me a chance to spend time with the children, taking me full circle.
It has been a few decades since I first caught the nurturing bug and I know that nurture can change lives. If you think I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org