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Title: Children’s experiences of a nurture group
Author: Dowsell, Rhiannon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 6079
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Nurture groups (NGs) are a form of specialist educational provision for children experiencing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). The guiding principles behind NGs are drawn from attachment theory. The aim of this study was to investigate the lived experience of children attending a NG and to consider the implications of children's views in respect of future provision for children with SEBD in schools. In particular, it sought to explore the culture developed within the NG; find out what was important to the children in the NG; and identify positive and problematic aspects associated with the NG provision. The focus of the study emerged following a review of the literature around NGs and SEBD. It was felt that there was a gap in the literature whereby the views of children attending NGs were rarely sought, with researchers preferring to investigate the effectiveness of NGs or to work with retrospective accounts from ex NG pupils. The empirical stance of the study is interpretivist in nature while an ethnographic approach was chosen as both a framework for the process of data collection and as an analytical tool. Six children (aged 4 - 7 years) attending one NG participated in the study along with the NG teacher and teaching assistant. Within the ethnographic framework of the study, a combination of: participant-observation; participant- generated photographs; photo-elicitation interviews and drawing sessions; and semi- structured interviews with staff were used. These methods were employed longitudinally over the course of seven months. The resulting data was then analysed to draw out common and individual themes important to the participants. Significant to the children in the study were relationships with other children and staff in the NG, the importance of play and special toys, the routines and rituals of the NG day and outdoor experiences. Other important themes were: the ambiguous nature of 'educational attachment' and how this is interpreted by professionals involved with NGs; the practical problems associated with NGs that deviate from the 'classic' model; the children's sense of belonging to the NG; and their sense of isolation in their home schools. Based on the conclusions of the research, a number of areas that may have implications for Educational Psychologists and other education professionals are discussed, as are suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available