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Title: An evaluation of the impact of nurture provision upon young children, including their language and their literacy skills
Author: Hosie, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 4215
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2013
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Nurture groups are a form of educational provision to support children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD). Their main aim is to provide children with the basic social and emotional skills, in order to facilitate learning, through the development of secure attachments in an educational setting (Boxall, 2002; Cooke, Yeomans & Parkes, 2008). The evidence base pertaining to nurture groups in relation to learning and academic outcomes remains relatively limited. A review of the literature highlighted the lack of previous research investigating the impact of nurture groups upon children’s language development, whilst access to the child’s voice remained limited. This research aimed to evaluate the impact of newly established, variant nurture groups upon a group of young children, including their language and literacy skills. In addition, the researcher used a range of methods in order to access the views of these children to assist in fully understanding the impact of nurture groups. Undertaken from a Critical Realist position, this evaluation study employed a mixed-methods design to consider both the outcomes and processes pertaining to nurture groups and academic outcomes. Quantitative measures were utilised to consider the effects of nurture groups upon children’s language and literacy skills, collected both upon entry to the nurture group and again eight months later. For this aspect of the research data was collected from 16 participants, accessing two different nurture groups and ranging in age from 5 years and 9 months to 9 years and 2 months. To contextualise the data, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with the children, to explore their experiences of nurture groups and support understanding of the intervening processes affecting children’s learning. A total of 8 participants, half of the original cohort, contributed to this phase. Four participants were drawn from each school and the final sample consisted of three girls and five boys, drawn from key stages one and two. Findings demonstrated that the children’s language and literacy skills showed improvement following access to the nurture group. Whilst this was not always at a significant level, some progress was evident, although the results should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size and the variance within the group. The qualitative data provided further evidence to support these results, identifying that children perceived a positive impact upon their language and literacy skills, whilst a change was also apparent in their confidence and their readiness to learn. Supportive and valued features of the nurture groups were identified which can be linked to key elements of the provision, suggesting the importance of developing attachment relationships and social interaction for facilitating learning. The findings are important in highlighting the potential of nurture groups for improving academic attainment alongside social and emotional development and Educational Psychologists are well placed to encourage understanding of the role of nurture groups in laying the foundations for learning, supporting schools to develop nurture groups as an effective provision for children with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral