Extending Provision for Nurture Groups

January 2019

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Some of our Year 7 Nurture Group students.

Our Nurture Group initiative, launched three years ago, has proved to be extremely successful. Students make noticeable and sustained improvement in our small-group learning environments, so now we are extending our provision to include Year 9s.

Originally, the initiative was launched to offer small-group learning to new Year 7 students who needed additional support for academic or social reasons. The group work with one teacher who helps to ease the transition from primary to secondary school by teaching all subjects in one classroom and organising a range of activities to help build self-esteem, teamworking skills and confidence.

The first group made rapid progress across all subjects and, as a result, we decided to extend our provision into Year 8. Now, with the opening of our bespoke Nurture Center building, ‘The Pavilion’, we can continue to offer this fantastic level of tailored support into Year 9.

We are now working closely with a range of partners to extend the curriculum offer in Years 10 and 11. Exciting meetings have already taken place with a variety of partners, including leaders from the Local Authority and Bishop Auckland College, to present proposals and to gain support for the development of an Alternative Provision offer.

Current plans would have students attending King James for part of the week in order to complete their core subjects, and spending their other days pursuing a variety of practical vocational subjects with support from our local College. This would provide excellent support for students who are keen to pursue practical post-16 options and, for this reason, significant careers support would also be provided to ensure that their transition is as smooth as possible.

If this project is confirmed for September 2019, then we will also build an additional classroom as a base for students taking part in this programme. The site for this classroom would be adjacent to The Pavilion, and the scheme would build upon the good work we are doing to support vulnerable students in Key Stage 3.

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