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Nurture provision change announced 14 March 2013

THE way nurture provision is delivered in schools is changing.

Stand-alone nurture groups, led by teachers, are being replaced with schools adopting more of a ‘whole school’ approach to nurturing pupils, using educations support staff as additional support.

Nurture care offers short-term extra support for small numbers of pupils, usually for just part of a school week and for only a proportion of a school year. In some cases this is during class time and in others during breaks.

A number of schools have already moved over to the new approach. Only three of the DEC’s five secondary schools and six of its 34 primary schools now have formal, teacher-led nurture groups.

Services for Children within the DEC will support them in moving over to the new way of nurturing pupils ready for the start of the academic year 2013/14.

Teachers at remaining nurture groups were invited to a meeting today at which the Department began consultation with them and their staff associations about this situation. This consultation will seek their views as to how redundancy can be avoided and will explore redeployment into other suitable vacant posts within education. Eleven posts – the equivalent of nine full-time equivalent staff – are affected.

An evolving change in practice is a key driver behind the move, but Services for Children is also trying to meet increasing demands for services for children with complex special needs so resources need to be re-targeted.

The vast majority of the division’s £8.1 million budget is spent on specialist staffing in schools. Services for Children provides additional support for all pupils with a wide range of physical, emotional and other special needs, on a demand-led basis, which changes all the time, so it is not easy for the division to predict demand.

Sally Brookes, Director of Services for Children, said pupils requiring more nurturing in order to succeed at school would receive the extra assistance they needed following the change.

‘We have been piloting different approaches to how we deliver nurture support and have found a model that uses education support staff is very effective. Children needing extra nurturing still have their learning planned by their class teacher and the support comes from staff who are skilled in providing that support.
‘This change allows us to maintain this quality provision while diverting resources to other areas of Services for Children's provision.’

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