The Dragons

Our Nurture Group, The Dragons, is run in line with Nurture Group Network and is based on the six principles of Nurture:

  1. Learning is understood developmentally
  2. The classroom offers a safe base
  3. Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem
  4. Language is understood as a vital means of communication
  5. All behaviour is communication
  6. Transitions are significant in the lives of children

Nurture Groups were first conceived in the 1970s by Marjorie Boxall, an educational psychologist in London. She had identified that a lack of early-years social and emotional experiences meant that some young people were unable to meet the expectations of mainstream school. She drew upon John Bowlby’s work on Attachment Theory and Abraham Maslow’s work to inform the concept of the Nurture Group.

Click here to find out more about the Nurture Group Network.

Fram Dragons
At Fram, our Nurture Group was considered after witnessing a growing need to develop resilience in some of our students. As a result, we now offer those students an extended transition period in order to bolster the underlying skills needed to be successful at Fram.

The Dragons Nurture Group is a time-limited group intervention to support students with transition from primary to high school. The small group environment nurtures a strong relationship between the student and teacher akin to a primary school, whilst guiding them through the routines and expectations of a high school. It is a safe stepping stone, with classes taking place in 'the Den'.

Students attend the Den for part of their school day and remain fully involved in many main school classes at all other times. They belong to a form group and attend PE and Arts education with their form group. Students are also part of main school Science and Design Technology lessons, and if necessary receive support from the Learning Support department in these lessons. Students who attend Dragons do so with the aim of full integration into the main school setting within 1 to 4 terms.

The Dragons provision supports students from a range of backgrounds, prior academic attainment and strengths and difficulties. These may include:

  • Students who have suffered trauma
  • Students with Special Educational Needs
  • Students with social and emotional difficulties

Student Centred Approach
Membership of the Dragons group is based on the needs of the child. Assessments of need are made for each student upon entry into the Den. These include the Boxall Profile Assessment, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which parents and carers are also asked to complete. This allows the Dragons team to plan a programme for each child and also show when progress has been made.

The Dragons programme is planned and differentiated to meet the needs of each individual in the group and is a mix of social and emotional development activities and academic learning. In the School Year 2016 to 2017 the group took part in a range of cross-curricular projects outside the classroom, including:

  • Horticulture with Royal Horticultural Society Volunteers
  • Fishing for Schools
  • Marriott’s Way Heritage Project

Just as membership of the Dragons group is based on the need of the child, and the timing of students fully entering the main school is led by the student with support of the teaching staff.
Parent and Carer involvement

Integral in the child’s success in the Dragons’ Den is the relationship between home and school. The Dragons’ Team value parent and carer involvement. We use the online app, Class DoJo, for real-time communication between home and school, we have regular events for parents and carers to be involved in Dragons’ activities and celebrating their achievements.

The Dragons Team
Students are supported in the Den by a well-qualified team. Mr. Gavin Howell is the class teacher and has a background in primary education. He has recently undertaken The Theory and Practice of Nurture Group Training and is awaiting his qualification. The group also has a Learning Support Assistant working closely with Mr. Howell; this role is currently shared between Mrs. Jen Rudd and Mrs. Christine Ryding. The Dragons Nurture Group is part of the Framingham Earl High School Learning Support Department and is overseen by Mrs. Harvey, the Director of Learning Support, who has also recently undertaken The Theory and Practice Nurture Group Training.

Plans for school year 2017-18
During the coming year the Dragons team will be working on an application to achieve the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award (MBQMA) for Nurture Group provision. This will quality assure our provision against the MBQMA standards and ensure that the high expectations and quality provision of our setting is recognised.

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