Woodthorpe Church of England Primary School

Learning & Growing Together To Be The Best We Can Be

Woodthorpe Owls 

Nurture/Forest Schools Group


After achieving great success in 2022 - 2023 through the delivery of our Nurture programme run alongside the Derbyshire Nurture Team and Mrs Beresford, we have now opted to support the needs of selected pupils through the Forest Schools Approach for the academic year 2023 - 2024. 

The Nurture/Forest Schools Group at Woodthorpe will be led throughout the academic year 2023 - 2024 by Mrs Sarah Bennett, a specially trained practitioner of the Forest Schools Programme.  The sessions will be run on one afternoon each week, where each session will aim to help children who may need additional support socially, emotionally and behaviourally - although this scheme may be offered to those that just need a bit more adult focused time outside of the classroom. 

Nurture/Forest School Group offers a hands-on, structured environment, where children are encouraged to develop their creative skills, gain confidence and experience a positive social environment.  Their typical session includes many curriculum and non-curriculum based activities, independent and group tasks. From these activities the children learn about nature and the outdoor environment, co-operation, team work, feelings, healthy lifestyles, respect and much more.

For more information about the Forest School Programme, click on the highlighted link.

We will evaluate the impact of this new programme throughout the year in order to ensure that it meets the needs of our pupils.

A Channel 4 programme has shown the effectiveness of Nurture Groups in schools. Woodthorpe C of E Primary School is very lucky to have such a group as only 4% of schools in the UK currently benefit from one. See the purpose and impact of Nurture through the following video link:Enter text...

In Nurture Group, staff respond to children not in terms of arbitrary expectations about ‘attainment levels’ but in terms of the children’s developmental progress assessed through the Boxall Profile Handbook.  The response to the individual child is ‘as they are’, underpinned by a non-judgemental and accepting attitude.


There are six key principles that Nurture focuses on. These are as follows:


Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem

Nurture involves listening and responding.  In a nurture group “everything is verbalised” with an emphasis on the adults engaging with the children in reciprocal shared activities e.g. play, meals, reading, talking about events and feelings.  Children respond to being valued and thought about as individuals, so in practice this involves noticing and praising small achievements; “nothing is hurried in nurture groups”. At the end of each week, we celebrate the achievements of the group - big or small, which are worked on alongside the class teacher to promote confidence and a sense of self-belief. This is rewarding for the children involved as their successes of the week are celebrated by all members of the group.

Language is understood as a vital means of communication

Language is more than a skill to be learnt, it is the way of putting feelings into words. In Nurture Group, children can sometimes  ‘act out’ their feelings if they struggle with the vocabulary to ‘name’ how they feel.  In nurture groups the informal opportunities for talking and sharing, e.g. welcoming the children into the group or having snack together are as important as the more formal lessons teaching language skills.  We aim to provide children with the toolkit to express feelings, and opportunities are created for extended conversations or encouraging imaginative play to understand the feelings of others.

Nurture Sessions at Woodthorpe

Nurture happens at Woodthorpe for two afternoons a week on a Monday and Friday. Children attend on a part-time basis for a period up to 12 weeks depending on the individual child's needs. However, we ensure that children do not miss special assemblies, guests in school, outings or any special events that the rest of their class are taking part in. The Nurture team plan closely with the class teachers.

If your child is selected for Nurture, their class teacher will contact you for your consent and to discuss any concerns or feelings that you have. We want this to be a holistic and collaborative experience and work closely with parents as we believe this is essential. 

If you have any further questions after this, please feel free to contact our Nurture Lead: Miss May.

You can contact her via email: cmay@woodthorpe.derbyshire.sch.uk or on 01246 472584.