Higher Openshaw Community School

Together We Learn

0161 223 3549


Saunton Road, Openshaw, Manchester M11 1AJ

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Nurture Award     




We are delighted to announce that in July 2023, we were successful in gaining the National Nurturing Schools Award.


What is the Nurture Award and what does it mean for our pupils?

To nurture means to care for and protect something or someone while it is growing.
We can all do this. Parents, carers, and other family members nurture children. Teachers and other school staff nurture their pupils. Maybe you nurture a younger sibling or a pet?

What does nurture do?

  • Helps us to develop our social and emotional skills
  • Supports us as we grow
  • Builds our resilience and makes us feel better about ourselves. 

Nurture groups and nurturing approaches are increasingly being introduced across primary and secondary schools.

Research shows nurture has a positive impact on attainment as well as social and emotional aspects of learning. At the heart of nurture is a focus on wellbeing and relationships and a drive to support the growth and development of children and young people.

The concept of nurture highlights the importance of social environments and its significant influence on social emotional skills, wellbeing and behaviour. Children who have good nurturing experiences tend to do well in school, attend regularly, form meaningful relationships and are significantly less likely to offend or experience physical or mental health problems.

The nurturing approach offers a range of opportunities for children to develop their social and emotional skills and do well at school and with their peers, develop their resilience and their capacity to deal more confidently with the challenge’s life may bring.

There are six principles that explain how nurture can help our pupils and others.


Read our report below:


Nurture Principle 1. 

  Our learning is understood developmentally. We are all individuals.
That means not everyone learns at the same rate or time. It's important not to get too worried or frustrated if you get stuck at something. Try not to compare yourself to others. It’s better to be patient and kind to ourselves. Try your best and be proud of what you can do.

Nurture Principle 2.

   The classroom offers a safe base. School should be a calm, safe environment for everyone.

Things are designed to keep everyone healthy and safe and to reassure you while you’re at school.

Nurture Principle 3.   

The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing. Looking after ourselves and other people makes us feel good in mind and body.

One way of doing this is showing kindness. When we are kind to other people, it makes them feel happy. It is good for your health too. Another example of nurture making us feel good is celebrating our achievements, no matter how small they might seem. When someone tells us we've done a good job, that makes us feel positive about ourselves. That's what nurture is all about.

Nurture Principle 4.

Language is a vital means of communication

What we say to people tells them a lot about us and how we're feeling. Talking to someone you trust, like a teacher or classroom assistant, about how you feel can help them understand you and make you feel better too.

Nurture principle 5.

All behaviour is communication.It's not always easy to express how we feel in words.

The way we behave towards other people says a lot about how we're feeling.If someone in your class is misbehaving or not listening to the teacher's instructions, it's helpful to ask yourself:
How might they be feeling? 
Why might they be behaving that way? 
Are they feeling angry or frustrated? Or upset? 
When we try to put ourselves in other people's shoes and imagine how they are feeling, this is called empathy.

Nurture Principle 6.

The importance of transition in our lives any changes.

Change happens all the time. It can be exciting but it can also be scary. Remember, it's good to talk to people you trust about how you're feeling about any changes.


Please click on the above link to read more about our Journey to become a Nurture Award School.

The Hub & Rainbow Room provision 

For more information on our nurture provision please also see our inclusion and SEND section on this website.

The ‘ Hub & Rainbow Provision’ is an essential part of the school’s inclusion and PSHE provision.

The Hub and Rainbow room is run by our Learning Support Mentor. They offer short term, focused interventions in small group. It addresses barriers to learning arising from social, emotional or behavioural difficulties, in an inclusive, supportive manner. Children and young people continue to remain a part of their own class group. The sessions promote a social environment to: develop emotional skills, teach them resilience, the capacity to deal more confidently with school life, to encourage good language and communication and staff are good role models.

We are even lucky enough to have our own school dog Bentley he is amazing at putting children at ease and making them smile. He even likes to help children read. 

Research shows that children’s learning is most effective when they have a sense of emotional wellbeing, good self-esteem and a feeling of belonging. The Hub & Rainbow Room provides children with this opportunity, helping to develop maturity and resilience. The Hub & Rainbow Room is a place of learning.

The philosophy of the Hub & Rainbow Room is drawn from the six principles established by the work of Marjorie Boxall and others.

  • Children’s learning is understood developmentally
  • The classroom offers a safe base
  • All behaviour is communication
  • The importance of nurture for the development of well being
  • Language is a vital means of communication
  • The importance of transition in children’s lives.

Nurture Sessions

Our highly experienced staff are specifically trained to work with individuals or small groups. Sessions are fun and informative, using activities and resources to motivate, engage and support the children. Before children attend nurture provision parents are informed.

A typical session in Nurture Group

Children follow a structure and routine which includes group listening and speaking, work tasks, shared play and social skills. The group runs on consistency, positive reinforcement and praise.   

A typical session in the Rainbow Room would revolve around a theme or topic, with some focus work on basic skills linked to the national Curriculum. All pupils would understand what they were going to learn and have individual targets to work on during that session. Children have the opportunity to share good news, explore thoughts and feelings and work collaboratively on practical tasks.

Children work with new peers regularly, encouraging cooperation and confidence. Within the sessions, opportunities are tailored to the needs of the particular group and age range. Outdoor learning is an important part of the sessions. Children learn to share a snack together and the opportunity is given to choose and try new foods; even baking them first! Children learn to share and talk together with peers and adults. The children return to their own classes at the end of the session – either before lunchtime or before the end of the school day.

Which children attend Nurture Group?

Children may attend sessions in the Nurture Group for specific reasons, for example:

  • Friendship difficulties – keeping/making friends
  • Quiet, shy, withdrawn
  • Find it hard to listen to others or join in
  • Disruptive behaviours within school
  • Poor relationships with adults in school
  • Bereavement
  • Family illness or break-up
  • Safeguarding related issues

How will Nurture Group help my child?

Nurture Group will boost confidence and self-esteem and provide children with the extra help sometimes needed to improve social skills and independence for example:

  • To join in
  • To settle down and listen
  • To develop concentration levels
  • To share and take turns
  • To build up resilience
  • To build up friendships with their classmates
  • It gives them a chance and helps to encourage a more positive profile among their peers and members of staff.

How long will my child be in Nurture Group for?

Sessions run all week. Children attend for no longer than four terms, unless deemed appropriate to carry on. Nurture staff work closely with class teachers to ensure a smooth and successful transition back to class full time after this period.

Are parents/carers involved?

We like to think that our ‘door is always open’ and therefore welcome parent/carers to visit. Special event invitations are sent out to parents to join us at special events e.g. open afternoon.


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