The aim of The Bridge nurture provision within Park School is to enable the most vulnerable pupils to access learning at their own individual pace in a caring, relaxed environment. Experienced staff assess learning, social and emotional needs and deliver whatever help is necessary to remove the barriers to learning. This includes a steady transition into education from home; building a trusting relationship between the child, their family and the school; and enabling the child to feel safe, secure and happy within their learning environment. All staff at Park School are specialist trained to recognise the varying needs of the pupils. They work collaboratively to engage pupils in education through the six key principles of nurture:
- Pupils’ learning is understood developmentally:
The Bridge nurture provision of Park School operates through recognising that all pupils learning cannot be based on academic attainment alone, it is developmental. From the completed Boxall profile, staff recognise the pupil’s area of need, this develops into a Personal Learning Plan that becomes the main focus of the pupil’s development within the nurture setting. Each pupil is treated very much as an individual and any plan is centred around their individual need and their personal progress, however gradual, is celebrated.
- The classroom offers a safe base:
All pupils within The Bridge suffer from anxiety, so it is vital that the environment that they enter is calm, organised and inviting. There are individualised timetables, pictorial timetables and clear routine. As well as academic lessons, pupils are encouraged to eat together at the table and enjoy their social time. Further activities include group enrichment activities such as cooking, Lego therapy and Art.
Adults within the nurture room are consistent and reliable; if pupils feel anxious or wish to leave the nurture room for time out, there is the ‘Bubble’ de-escalation room that provides a relaxing environment in which pupils can discuss any concerns on a 1-1 basis or simply calm down if they need to.
Park School and The Bridge is a ‘safe space’ that welcomes all pupils and excludes none. Promotion of acceptance can be identified through posters around school, pupils work in PSHE and Wellbeing on issues around race, gender and sexuality and the schools main ethos that we ‘all belong’.
- Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem:
The Bridge promotes all forms of communication through group work, mood cards that help express pupil’s emotions and feelings and written work. All pupils are involved in the PSHE lessons that have a clear focus on social and emotional wellbeing.
- Language is understood as a vital means of communication
All pupils are encouraged to sit together and engage with each other. Although it is initially difficult for some, the clear structure begins to develop pupils’ communication and social skills. An extension of this is work through group play, social games and expressive art.
- All behaviour is communication
All staff at Park School follow the nurture group principles and therefore recognise that any form of behaviour communicates a child’s feelings and difficulties. All staff are involved in parent/carer meetings, complete regular home visits and ensure the strong link between home and school.
- Transitions are significant in the lives of children
The initial process of pupils coming into The Bridge provision is through a learning mentor starting to build the relationship within the child’s home. This could take weeks before the pupil feels comfortable enough to take the huge step of coming into The Bridge. Once they attend, the pupils have a part-time timetable that allows them to access The Bridge and engage in a variety of lessons, whilst still supported fully by staff on a 1:1 basis.
Deputy Academy Lead and Head of The Bridge Nurture Provision
Park School Teaching Service