Why schools should adopt a whole-school approach to nurture

16 November 2022

A whole-school approach to nurture focuses on the emotional development and academic learning of all pupils, as well as embedding the Six Principles of Nurture throughout the policies and practices of a school. By adopting a whole-school approach, schools can not only understand and respond to the social, emotional, mental health and wellbeing of all pupils and staff, they can also help enhance teaching and learning.

At nurtureuk, we have spent over 50 years building an evidence-based approach and today we are known for supporting education professionals to implement expert nurturing practice in schools. 

Developing a nurturing culture is different for every school. The way in which it is embedded depends upon the school’s core beliefs, pupil’s needs and the school’s commitment to supporting pupils to achieve their very best. There are several tools and resources that support this process, including the following:

  • The Boxall Profile® – 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. 
  • The Six Principles of Nurture – Developed by educational experts Eva Holmes and Eve Boyd in 1999, these are the core principles that should inform any nurturing culture and ethos.  
  • Nurture groups – 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.

Our National Nurturing Schools Programme helps schools to develop a whole-school approach that upskills leaders to embed a nurturing culture to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all pupils and staff in a school. Through embedding the Six Principles of Nurture and using the Boxall Profile® across the whole school, the National Nurturing Schools Programme supports schools to identify children and young people who need additional, more focused support through nurturing interventions or as part of a nurture group. 

We want to see every child’s education and development embracing nurture. A whole-school approach is the most effective way to support every child with their social, emotional and mental health needs, and equip teachers with the necessary tools to meet these needs.