Year 7 Nurture 'The Dragons'

The Background to our Nurture Group - The Dragons. Our Nurture Group was conceived 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 to bolster the underlying skills needed to be successful at Fram. The Dragons were named by our first cohort in 2015. The aspiration is that all our Dragons, different as they are, can fly high!

The Dragons operate 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.

Who are the Dragons?

The Dragons Nurture Group is an intervention for Year 7 to support students with the 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 steppingstone with classes taking place in ‘The Den’.

Students attend the Den for a whole year.  They attend for a proportion of their timetable learning a cross-section of subjects from the mainstream curriculum.  They belong to a form group and attend most mainstream lessons with their form or teaching group, while some lessons take place in The Den. 

The Dragons’ provision supports students from a range of backgrounds, prior academic attainment and strengths and difficulties. These may include, but are not limited to:

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

Student-Centred Approach - A Nurture Curriculum

Membership of the Dragons is based on the needs of the child. Assessments of need are made for each student upon entry into the Den. This allows the Dragons’ team to plan a programme for each child and also show when progress has been made.

Students who attend the Dragon’s come to The Den for a unique learning experience. Their work space is calm with lots of natural light. They have the opportunity to work in small groups with a teacher and teaching assistant to support learning. The bespoke curriculum is designed to meet the particular needs of our Dragon’s. This means that they can develop self-confidence, learn about their personal strengths and skills and have a great opportunity to make new friends. 

The Dragon’s come to The Den for Geography, History and Drama lessons. The lesson learning objectives are identical to those in mainstream lessons however the Dragons are taught in a unique way to suit the individual style of the learner. This means the lessons not only cover the academic requirements of the curriculum they also include approaches which address the social and emotional needs of our learners.

We facilitate learning through a Mantle of the Expert style approach. This approach involves planning a creative fictional situation where Dragons take on the responsibilities of an expert team. As the team, they are commissioned by a client to work on assignments that involve the study and exploration of wider areas of the KS3 curriculum. For example, in the Autumn Term, students take on the role of history programme-makers. They are commissioned by the BBC to make a film about the discovery of some artefacts discovered in a tomb under the floor of Norwich Cathedral.

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