Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Stockport specialist school wins national Nurture Award

ONE of the Together Trust charity’s specialist educational settings in Cheadle, Inscape House School, is celebrating after it was recently awarded the National Nurturing Schools Award (NNSA) by Nurture UK.

The award is assessed against a set of quality and performance standards, which cover three main areas: Stakeholders, Delivery, and Leadership and Management and the Six Principles of Nurture: children’s learning is understood developmentally; the classroom offers a safe base; nurture is important in the development of wellbeing; language is understood as a vital means of communication; all behaviour is communication; and transitions are significant in the lives of children.

The award has been achieved following an 18-month training programme. It reflects the school’s success in implementing and embedding a nurturing culture that responds to its pupils’ social, emotional and mental health needs alongside their academic studies.

Assessor, Carrie Thorne, reports:

“Kate Donovan (Deputy Headteacher), Emma Walsh (Nurture Lead) and Kathryn Fearon (Nurture Practitioner) are clearly passionate about the nurturing approach and use the NNSP as a framework to build on an ethos that already existed at Inscape House School. They see the NNSP as a way to consolidate and formalise their approach, which has always been focussed on Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH), which is clear in all aspects of the school environment, where every detail has been considered to help pupils thrive, from the relationships, the curriculum and classroom design.”

According to the assessment report, Inscape House School stands out with a number of excellent practices, including: strong leadership in regard to the nurturing approach and a whole stakeholder approach; support for pupils around transition; and excellent environmental, community and parental involvement.

According to the assessment report:

‘The school offers a flexible person-centred approach to transition; if they find the start of the school day tricky, alternative start times are offered. They are also flexible in presenting the daily schedule to students. Staff are right to take pride in this area as it was very clear from speaking to all stakeholders that they work incredibly hard to ensure it is a success and their efforts are having favourable outcomes on the pupils and their families.’

The school is also praised for its clear focus on wellbeing as a priority due to its strategies and resources in place. Some of these include mental health first aiders, designated areas for self-regulation in every classroom, a restorative approach to behaviour, a range of lunch clubs such as school council, wellbeing club and LGBTQ+ groups, which allow students to be open and express themselves, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) registered counsellors who deliver play therapy and offer counselling provision, and more.

Following a hugely successful assessment day, one of the comments Nurture UK reported reads:

‘All of the staff I spoke to and evidence from the self-assessment indicate this is an area of outstanding success. The school places high importance on the well-being of its pupils, parents, and staff. Teachers understand that the stage, not age, approach to teaching and learning is crucial so that pupils feel safe, are open to learning and are willing to take risks within their classroom environments. The staff know that if a pupil feels connected and cared for, they will want to return to education, and ultimately learning will come.’

Emma Walsh, Nurture Lead, shares:

“At Inscape House School, we adopt a whole team approach, knowing that the focus must be on the whole child, and wholeheartedly adopting a person-centred approach. We have used the National Nurturing Schools framework to build on an ethos that already exists. Through a vigorous programme over the last 18 months, including: quality assurance cycles, staff training, learning walks and working with all stakeholders, we have ensured that nurture underpins everything and is firmly embedded into practice.”

Quotes from the assessment day:

‘Many of our pupils have never been able to be themselves, so we spend time making them feel safe so they can show us who they really are.’

‘Although it’s a cliché, we are a family.’

‘My favourite thing about school is there is no pressure on you. It is really ok to make a mistake.’

The award is valid for three years from the date it is awarded.

Nurture UK is an organisation dedicated to improving the life chances of every child and young person by promoting nurture across the whole education system and beyond.


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