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Title: Staff and pupil experience and perceptions : what is seen as the 'value' of a new variant nurture group?
Author: Harrison, Sandra
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2016
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Nurture Groups have experienced rises and falls in popularity since their initial introduction by Marjorie Boxall in 1969 in inner city London (Boxall 1976). At present there are more than 1,500 Nurture Groups in the UK (Nurture Group Network Website) with the Nurture Group Network continuing work to expand and develop the use of these groups in more areas across the country. This research project seeks first to examine the effectiveness or success of nurture groups in preparing children for reintroduction to the mainstream classroom. This was examined by conducting a systematic review of the literature which evaluated studies reporting on outcomes for children attending nurture groups, using quantitative measures. The review concludes that the lack of consistency in the methods of analysis employed between studies, the varying perceptions of ‘success’ and the dearth of studies which examine pupil data longitudinally (only one being present Cooper and Whitebread 2007) does not provide a solid and compelling evidence base for effectiveness of nurture groups in preparing children for reintroduction to mainstream classes. Nurture Groups remain popular however and the author sought to question what it is about nurture groups which schools, staff and pupils value. Through discussion of a process of personal epistemological change and development, the focus of the research project shifts from the quantitative measures described in the Systematic Review to a more qualitative approach. In light of the researchers aim to add a unique perspective to the body of literature a decision was made to conduct an empirical research project with the staff and pupils of a nurture group. The nature of the group in relation to traditional nurture principles is explored and explained. The research project is conducted using a combination of focus groups and semi-structured one to one interviews with nurture group staff, children who attend the nurture group and the mainstream teachers of those children. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to produce superordinate and subthemes which emerged as particularly pertinent to the participants involved. This method of analysis allowed discussion of these themes by looking at both the way in which the participants made sense of their experiences and the researchers understanding and meaning making of the descriptions produced. The study concludes that many of the reported benefits and value laden aspects of the nurture provision tie in with current psychological 2 knowledge of processes such as attachment, relationships, sense of belonging and self-efficacy and self-worth. There is also discussion of the policy issues mentioned by staff which influence practice within school and the nurture group. Tentative conclusions state that this research can contribute to the field by offering an examination of one case study which may contribute to identifying wider patterns and themes in other IPA studies in this area. It is also concluded that the new variant nurture group involved in this study shows evidence of enriching the children’s educational experience; helping to develop skills both in learning and in social and emotional functioning. However, future suggestions for development of the group could include work on developing these skills in a way which can be transferred outside of the safety of the nurture group. Future studies could also look at the views and perceptions of parents and ways in which to implement a nurturing ethos throughout school.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.App.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available