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 the early nurturing experiences that pupils are missing, teachers can help them 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
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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.

The diagram pyramid below shows how the whole school approach fits with other nurturing approaches and interventions:
Graduated nurture approach pyramid graphic

Recommended training course

The National Nurturing Schools Programme

An accreditation framework for schools with a nurturing culture.

The National Nurturing Schools Awards

Upon completion of our National Nurturing Schools Programme, schools can apply for the award.