Nurture Groups in Secondary Schools: Perceptions of Children, Parents and Staff.

Prof Doc Thesis

Garner, Jennifer 2010. Nurture Groups in Secondary Schools: Perceptions of Children, Parents and Staff. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsGarner, Jennifer
TypeProf Doc Thesis

With the rising prevalence of children with Social, Emotional and Behavioural
Difficulties (SEBD) in the secondary sector (Cooper & Whitbread 2007), many
schools are establishing Nurture Groups (NGs), a government endorsed intervention
(DCSF 2008; 2009; DfEE 1997; 1998; DfES 1999; 2002a). These were created by
Boxall (1976) and are designed to emulate missed or deprived early childhood
experiences. The intervention has been associated with Attachment Theory (Bowlby
1969; 1973; 1981). However, there is little research indicating that an intervention
primarily targeted at infant schools can be applied effectively to secondary settings
(Cooper & Tiknaz 2007; Cooke, Yeoman & Parkes 2008). Therefore, the main aim of
this research was to explore how NGs are implemented into the secondary sector
and whether they can be a beneficial intervention for children with SEBD. It
examined the implementation of three secondary school NGs through the views of
17 secondary school staff and eight parents using focus groups, and six children
who had attended the NGs through individual interviews. The data were then
analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke 2006).
Findings showed that secondary school NGs can be a valued resource and have
benefits for those within them. However, they have a different emphasis from those
originally devised by Boxall (1976). This was felt to be influenced by the age of the
children and subsequent attachment needs. Therefore, practitioners need knowledge
of adolescent development and attachment theory to implement NGs successfully.
They also need to consider carefully methods of communication and dissemination
of NG aims and practices to school and home.
Educational Psychologists are strategically placed to help secondary school NGs,
due to their knowledge of child development, attachment theory and psychological
tools/techniques to aid communication. They could also play an important role in
supporting NG staff to fulfil their pivotal and challenging role in the lives of these

Publication dates
PrintJun 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2014
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