NGN Summer School 2017

"An amazing experience. So glad I came. I will definitely be coming back next year and intend on bringing my head."


"I have found the summer school to be a fantastic experience. A great opportunity to network and 'magpie' ideas. I have a long list of things to introduce or improve on in September. Very much hoping to attend again next year." 


"This has been an amazing experience. I have picked up so many tips and so much knowledge - not only from the speakers in the workshops, but from fellow delegates over coffee, and at meal times. I now have so much more confidence to try new things in the school." 



St John’s Hotel, Birmingham

24 – 27 July


NGN is delighted to present our third annual summer school, following on from last year’s hugely successful event. Returning to the Midlands, we will be hosting the conference at the 4 star St John’s Hotel in Birmingham. This year we are bringing you our biggest conference yet. We will be offering you longer workshops, more workshop options, brand new big picture sessions, brand new masterclasses, as well as plenty of networking opportunities with fellow practitioners from around the UK and beyond.

We will have access to St John’s Hotel gym and swimming pool, in addition to offering Yoga classes. There is also an onsite spa* and a beautiful garden, a perfect space for some self-reflection and mindfulness. There will be plenty of fun evening activities to get involved in such as speed networking, a pub quiz, a formal gala dinner and karaoke. 

All meals, refreshments (except alcoholic drinks) are included in the price and accommodation is provided in comfortable en-suite rooms in the hotel.

To help you with your budgeting you can now pay in instalments for your Summer School 2017 place. Please email for more details.

*spa facilities are offered directly from the hotel at an additional cost.



Helen Stollery - The Wellbeing Toolkit for professionals

Helen joined the Nurture Group Network as a National Training Officer in September 2007 and is now the Head of Training. She comes from a teaching background, working as a mainstream teacher for some time. Whilst teaching, she set up and ran a nurture group within an infant school.

Wellbeing in schools is a fundamental prerequisite for healthy and productive quality teaching and learning.  Both children and teachers need to be supported, fit and well to be inspired and inspiring.  This masterclass will introduce practitioners to the Wellbeing Toolkit for professionals, which is a programme of professional development to promote and maintain resilience and personal effectiveness.  The 20 sessions in this toolkit aim to provide the necessary resources to enable staff to enhance their own wellbeing.  Each of the key topics provide a package of training and resources that include information leaflets, strategies, skills-based activities and a power point presentation. 

Yvonne Monaghan & Kirsten Mann - A whole school approach to nurture

It is evident that there is a clear need for mainstream classrooms to be re-conceptualised in a way that is informed by an understanding of educational nurturing. The six principles of nurture – and their specific approach to teaching – allow for more effective learning. Nurturing principles are based on valuing not only the pupils but also staff and parents, and seeking to understand and respect them as unique individuals, placing their personal development as the highest priority.

The National Nurturing School Award is an exciting programme for all schools aiming to support their pupils and stakeholders.  Based on the six principles of nurture that have successfully underpinned nurture groups for over 40 years, this programme allows schools to develop and embed a nurturing culture that enhances stakeholder attachment and engagement. The programme has been developed and is administered by NGN, the world’s leading centre for nurture in education and awarding body of the Certificate in Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups, the nationally recognised qualification for running a nurture group in schools.

Since the National Nurturing Schools Programme was launched in 2015, the year has gone very quickly with over with over 80 schools attending the initial two-day training.

Yvonne joined NGN in 2015 as head of consultancy. Kirsten joined NGN in 2015 as national training officer for Scotland. Together they are responsible for rolling out the National Nurturing School Award across the UK.

Wendy Roden - Attachment theory & practical strategies

Wendy has had a long career in teaching and in developing and supporting nurture groups. Wendy joined the NGN Board of Management in 2010, stepping down when she was appointed National Training Officer in 2012. As a SENCO and social inclusion co-ordinator in a secondary school, Wendy was responsible for developing and managing the provision for pupils with a wide range of additional needs. It was during this time and through links with the first primary nurture group in Cumbria that she realised the potential of nurture groups. This masterclass is of particular relevance to members of staff who have completed the accredited training in the Theory and Practice of

Nurture Groups and are running a nurture group. It is also useful for any staff who are working with, or who come into contact with children and young people with behavioural, emotional and social developmental needs and wish to improve their practice and make a difference.

This masterclass will include:

• An overview of attachment theory with links to neuroscience in the context of nurture groups

• The relevance for learning and behaviour

• Links to the six nurture group principles

• The presentation of Boxall Profiles and case studies of pupils

• Practical strategies for supporting children and young people with links to Beyond the Boxall Profile



Big Picture sessions

Dr Tina Rae - Fostering your well being as a professional

Dr Tina Rae has over 30 years’ experience working with children, adults and families in both clinical and educational contexts within local authorities and specialist educational services. She is currently working as a Consultant Educational and Child Psychologist in a range of SEBD/SEMH and mainstream contexts and for Compass Fostering as a consultant Psychologist supporting foster carers, social workers and Looked after children. Tina is a prolific author having written 78 publications to date. She is currently working on research into staff well-being and resilience and writing 2 books on this topic including one which focuses on peer group supervision systems. NGN is delighted to welcome Tina Rae as our first confirmed big picture session speaker. Tina will be talking about fostering your own wellbeing as a professional. 

Lewis Iwu - Affecting change in education

Lewis Iwu read politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, where he was elected President of the students’ union. Lewis is an active debating coach, having coached the national teams of Hong Kong in 2006, the United Arab Emirates in 2010 and 2011, and the ESU England schools debating team in 2012. He is a former World Universities Debating Champion. Lewis also helped set up Debate Mate, which teaches debating in more than 240 state schools in some of the UK’s most deprived areas. He is currently the Director of the Fair Education Alliance. The alliance of 55 organisations, including universities, companies and NGOs- of which NGN is a member- seeks to tackle education inequality and increase social mobility across the UK. In this big picture session, Lewis will talk to delegates about the role of the Fair Education Alliance and how it is effecting political change in the education system

Dame Alison Peacock
Dame Alison Peacock is the Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching. Prior to this, Dame Alison was Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire. Her career to date has spanned primary, secondary and advisory roles. She is a member of the Royal Society's Education Committee, a peer member of the Teaching Schools Council and a trustee of both the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors and of Teach First. In March 2015, Alison was appointed by the Department for Education as a member of the commission on assessment without levels and she is author of Assessment for Learning without Limits.


Angi Franklin - LEGO BuildToExpress

Angi joined The Nurture Group Network as a Training Officer in 2013. Previously she worked for the Behaviour Support Advisory Team for a local authority. As part of her role, Angi delivered training in attachment theory, early language development, behaviour management, autism and sensory issues. 

LEGO® Education has been working with schools for more than 30 years. Its aim is to help practitioners to take a more progressive approach and to unlock their pupils’ interest in learning. LEGO® BuildToExpress (BTE) encourages pupils to express their thoughts and ideas symbolically, which is a more playful, creative and hands-on way of engaging pupils of all abilities. The method ensures a secure and non-judgemental process for solving problems, expressing personal feelings and breaking down barriers that can affect achievement in curriculum-based topics.

Claire Eccleshall - Staff wellbeing through music

Claire has been involved in NGN for many years. She had a long career as a nurture group practitioner and an associate trainer for NGN before joining the team as a training officer. 

Across the globe, across all societies and religions and ethnic groups, singing has been a significant feature of human behaviour throughout time. Singing can make you cry, singing can make you laugh and singing can ignite your passions. Singing is also wonderful for relationships and connecting people spiritually and naturally. Singing creates positive energy and a happy mood which is infectious and transparently good for everyone. Being a nurture practitioner is uniquely demanding and can be emotionally draining at times. We often spend so much time worrying ad caring for our pupils we neglect our own wellbeing. This workshop looks at the benefits of singing for emotional and physical wellbeing and looks at ways to bring music into your everyday life to experience the spiritual and uplifting effect that singing can bring.

Kirsten Mann - Supporting staff through coaching conversations

Kirsten joined NGN in 2015 as the National Training Officer for Scotland. As an experienced primary teacher with a background in support for learning she has taught in a range of settings, has set up and run nurture groups, was a school-based dyslexia adviser and, just prior to joining NGN, was principal teacher of a language and communication resource. Kirsten mentored newly qualified teachers for many years and has an interest in teacher professional learning.

Those in support and advisory roles can be looked upon as the ‘experts who will come up with strategies and know all the answers.’ A school once phoned a behaviour support service to send a teacher out because a pupil had climbed up a tree and wouldn’t come down. The behaviour support teacher had never met this pupil before yet there was a perception this person had some specific expertise or perhaps even magic powers! This workshop is aimed at anyone who has a role in offering advice and support to staff. Coaching conversations help staff to tease out the specific issues when facing challenging situations, can guide, support and tap into their own expertise. They have the potential to help staff develop strategies to support their pupils in ways that are sustainable within their context and support positive relationships. The workshop will briefly cover theories of mentoring and coaching and provide opportunities to practise coaching conversations using a simple framework.

Kevin Kibble - Coping with bereavement in children and young people

Kevin is the chief executive of the Nurture Group Network. Prior to joining NGN in January 2013, Kevin was chief executive at Caspari Foundation, a charity providing educational psychotherapy for children & young people who need help to overcome emotional barriers to learning & development. Kevin is passionate about the power of education in effecting societal change.

Every one of us will, at some point experience a significant loss and have to suffer the grief and bereavement that ensues. It is helpful to understand the process both in term of how we cope and also how children and young people manage this kind of loss. This workshop will raise staff awareness and prompt further discussion and planning around meeting the needs of a bereaved young person and providing an appropriately differentiated programme of support in order to reduce stress and the possibility of non-attendance.

Kevin Kibble - Fundraising for your nurture group

Funding can be an issue, especially in times of austerity. If you need to raise funds for a specific event, or to establish your nurture group, Kevin will show you how to craft a grant application form so your application stands above the rest.

Helen Stollery - The Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award

There is now a more established research base for evaluating the effectiveness of nurture groups. The published outcomes of the research bring added weight to the importance of maintaining the integrity of the model in its delivery to vulnerable children and young people in schools and other establishments. The Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award involves assessing the work of a nurture group against a set of quality standards. These standards are derived from the six principles of nurture groups and their clearly defined operational characteristics.

This workshop is of particular relevance to practitioners who:

• Have completed the accredited training in the Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups

• Are running a nurture group

• Are working towards the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award

• Want to make specific links to OFSTED

Colette Marston and Julie Hampton - Keep Talking

This workshop is suitable for primary practitioners Colette is a founder member of NGN and during her teaching career she ran a classic secondary nurture group and later a new primary Model KS 2 group. Julie has also had a very successful teaching career, having been the designated teacher overseeing a delightful KS 1 group. She has a wealth of experience and always has an answer to a problem. During the workshop she will introduce you to her two ‘girls’ and an arrogant American zebra. Both Julie and Colette are passionate about nurture groups and have experience in delivering training and supporting practitioners. One of the four original principles focused on language development and four decades later this remains one of the now six principles. The cumulative vocabulary experiences of children from differing backgrounds has been well researched and the
Joseph Rowntree Foundation has described the discrepancy as ‘staggering’’. The DfE has identified that a child’s language development is strongly associated with performance across all subject areas and crucially identifying that it is the quality of the child’s ‘communication environment’ that is the key. The National Literacy Trust identified that a child’s vocabulary at the age of five is the best single predictor of later social mobility. Based on the above rationale, the workshop will be largely practical and interactive, and will investigate planned, accidental and incidental opportunities for developing language skills within your NG. Ideas for extension games to meet varying academic levels and the demands of the curriculum will be explored. All the activities have been designed so they are achievable at minimal cost. The most expensive item you might want to buy is a pillowcase!

Caroline McKinley & Lois Stone - Running an effective nurture group in the secondary school

Caroline and Lois run a secondary nurture group in Cardiff. In early 2016 they were awarded the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award by NGN. The aim of this workshop is to provide information on how to run a successful and effective nurture group in the secondary school. The workshop will look at the issues faced when setting up a secondary school nurture group such as organising timetables, working collaboratively with colleagues in a larger school and at ways to encourage support from mainstream teachers, pupils and their parents/carers. The workshop will also look at sharing good practice in running a successful secondary school nurture group including organisation of sessions, and how to tailor sessions to meet the specific needs of nurture group pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4. The session will also address best practice in working with primary school colleagues to select pupils for secondary nurture groups prior to them starting secondary school to ensure a smooth transition.

Jaki Reid - Yoga

Jaki Reid has been working with vulnerable young people for 23 years, as a teacher for the last 10 and in a nurture group for the last three. She also currently teaches four yoga classes per week locally and has trained in giving reiki and Thai yoga massage.

Jaki started yoga in her 20s and returned to it as a regular practice in her 30s as a means to balance out the stresses she faced as an NQT.  Six years ago, she decided to explore the practice further and trained as a yoga teacher with the Classical Yoga School (CYS) and yogis such as David Sye, David Swenson and David Kyle. The training was based on ashtanga and explored the concept of teaching seasonally. This session will focus on seasonal yoga, which is founded on the knowledge that we are a part of nature and therefore part of its changes, which allows us to adapt our practice to promote health on every level. Seasonal yoga assists us to cultivate an awareness of these changing energetic states and then how to use them to complement the season we are in, or to adapt to what is going on in the world around us. Seasonal yoga classes change five times a year to reflect seasonal changes, and work with these energies and qualities to support individual organs and systems, encouraging physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. 

Delegates are encouraged to bring a yoga mat or towel to use if possible.

Wendy Roden - Assignment support

As a Special Educational Needs co-ordinator and Social Inclusion co-ordinator in a secondary school Wendy was responsible for developing and managing provision for pupils with a wide range of additional needs. It was during this time and through links with the first primary nurture group in Cumbria that she realised the potential of nurture groups.

Working as a Behaviour and Attendance Improvement Programme co-ordinator involved working with schools to develop innovative approaches targeted towards addressing some of the ‘barriers to learning’ experienced by children and young people. Aiming to raise aspirations and ‘narrow the gap’ to secure active engagement and positive outcomes. As part of this programme a number of schools developed nurture groups. She coordinated networking and professional development opportunities including an annual nurture group conference in Cumbria.

Wendy will be helping people who are currently in the training process, completing applications, or just need some advice on the best training path.

Philippa Jeavons - Social and emotional curriculum of NGs

Philippa is a trainee educational psychologist at the University of East London.

Nurture groups have a strong evidence base to demonstrate increased scores in Boxall Profiles - but how is this achieved? Philippa has conducted research into how nurture group practitioners deliver their social and emotional wellbeing curriculum. It looks into what skills nurture group practitioners use to develop self-esteem, confidence and increase the scores on the Boxall Profile. It will share what frameworks and curriculums are used and key themes that came from the research. The research will look at what nurture group practitioners felt was important and how they had such a large impact on the children they taught. The workshop will provide a space for practitioners to discuss and reflect on their own practice and highlight common themes found through the research that are beneficial to the process.

Helen Green - Developing a growth mindset culture in the nurture setting and beyond

Helen is a qualified SENCO working in a large Cornish secondary school. She manages and leads the KS3 nurture provision for Years 7 and 8 and is advising and assisting with a new nurture initiative in the KS4 setting. Helen also delivers a social and communication skills (SoCcS) programme to students with ASD.

This workshop will equip delegates with the necessary means to begin fostering a ‘growth mindset culture’ both in the nurture setting and in the wider context of both the whole-school ethos and within the home setting. The growth mindset philosophy encompasses the promotion of grit, determination, resilience and perseverance as life-long skills; endlessly malleable and subject to development. In addition to learning how to incorporate growth mindset enhancing activities into their daily nurture base structures, delegates will be presented with the relevant tools to assist colleagues, parents and governors in modifying their own use of language and conversation to further build on successes within classroom-led strategies. Additional digital resources will be available for delegates to take away should they so wish.

Fi Durrant - The use of nurture for transition into secondary education

Fi is a year leader for year 7, which includes supporting a tutor team and pastoral monitoring of the students. Fi also delivers intervention work, and she is a qualified youth worker. A large portion of her work is working with primary schools to ensure a smooth transition for young people to secondary school, and delivering work throughout year 7 to promote positive relationships and healthy attachment to school.

An introduction to understanding transition for young people, focusing on the transition from primary to secondary education and the impact of this on a young person as well as how this relates to brain development at this age. Delegates will be supported to understand the theory behind transition and application of theory in mainstream secondary education. Delegates will be aware of the differences between primary and secondary education and how to support children to manage these changes effectively. The workshop will cover best practice to use nurture groups to help manage transition for young people, with examples of nurture programmes grounded in theory to help meet the specific needs of young people across transition. The learning outcomes for this workshop would be: to develop an understanding of the importance of nurture groups in transition, to understand transition theory and how this connects to attachment and nurture theory, to gain practical knowledge on implementation of nurture groups in mainstream secondary school, to gain ideas for practical activities that can be delivered in a nurture group in secondary education.

Antonia Farino - Helping children understand and manage their feelings

Antonia has been a nurture group teacher for five years. She currently runs a KS1 Boxall Quality Mark accredited cluster nurture group and she is in the process of setting up a KS2 cluster nurture group.

This workshop will explore a variety of different resources and activities that can help a child gain emotional literacy and build a range of skills that help them manage their feelings and develop resilience thus having a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing. In the workshop we will explore how we can support emotional literacy within the daily routines of the nurture group. We will also explore the use of puppets and art as indirect and tactile experiences that can tap into unconscious thoughts and feelings and therefore enable a therapeutic and creative opportunity for self-expression.

Deborah Duncan and Fiona Higgins - Measuring the impact of a nurture group

Deborah and Fiona work closely together to carefully plan for their nurture group following a specific curriculum they have designed based on health and wellbeing. They follow the nurture principles within their day-to-day sessions not only for their nurture group but also with their social skills and primary/secondary transition group. They are a strategic nurture group who liaise closely with the 11 mainstream schools within their cluster area, ensuring transference of skills by regular communication, meetings and working with their mainstream classes. Parental engagement is a fundamental part of their role, as is working alongside various agencies. As part of their school improvement plan they are also working towards embedding nurture principles within their whole school setting.

The workshop will focus on the importance for nurture groups to determine the impact on learners' social, emotional and academic progress. Deborah and Fiona will include examples of questionnaires and assessment materials and show you how to produce statistical analysis to evidence the impact nurture has on young children, giving you the means to implement this within your setting.

Jason Harding Swale - Boris can beat it

Jason is a main grade educational psychologist who leads nurture across his service. He is also the link EP for the Virtual School. Jason carries out the full range of EP duties including assessment, consultation, research, training, whole school development work and local authority development work.

This workshop showcases an intervention offered to primary schools in East Sussex. Children experiencing high levels of anxiety are identified in collaboration with the Educational Psychology Service and invited to join a Boris can Beat It group. Groups run over six to eight weeks, creating an opportunity to share feelings and develop understanding and coping strategies through a range of activities including stories, art and craft, and relaxation. They also incorporate activities that can be carried out at home. This is a safe and supportive group that aims to help members feel comfortable about sharing their thoughts and feelings together. Boris is a teddy bear who is a worrier. Together, he and the children work through their worries together, practising strategies to reduce anxiety. Workshop participants will learn how the intervention works and be given session plans and other resources to enable them to set up and run a similar intervention in their own school. The sessions include meeting each other, meeting Boris the Bear, identifying feelings, knowing what happens to our body when we feel worried, learning how to relax and feel good, talking to our friends and family, positive self-talk and imagination.

Esther Gray - Group Theraplay in the nurture room

Esther is a primary nurture teacher. She leads the nurture group at Woodnewton primary in Corby, Northamptonshire. Her nurture group has a group of up to 10 children from age five to eight.

Group Theraplay raises self esteem and develops trust in others and promotes joyful engagement through practical activities. Sessions guide the child through playful, fun games, developmentally challenging activities and nurturing tasks. During the sessions the adults are able to regulate the child's behaviour and communicate joy and safety. This workshop will explore the impact of Group Theraplay in Esther’s nurture setting and will aim to give practitioners the confidence to build Theraplay into their daily practice. The workshop will promote discussion and the sharing of ideas for creating a Theraplay atmosphere and will provide examples for structuring individual sessions.

Charlene Robinson, Andrea Esp & Rebecca Oakes - Safe to learn – developing nurture principals

Safe to learn is an eight-session certificated course that has been provided in the borough of Southend on Sea, Essex for all nurture group practitioners. This workshop is a summary of the course and recap of the nurture principles. The workshop will provide more insight into how the brain develops at an early age and scientific and chemical imbalances contribute to behaviour. It will also touch on the effect of neglect on young children and how to use nurture bases and attachment as a second chance to progress in education.

Matthew Burns and Stacey Wiggins - A day in the life of a nurture group in a special school

Matthew is the head teacher of Headlands School; a co-educational independent special school that offers day and residential placements based in Penarth in South Wales. Stacey is the leader of their nurture group, which in 2016 was awarded the Marjorie Boxall Quality Mark Award.

In this workshop, Matthew and Stacey will take you through a day in the life of their nurture group, discussing their own personal experiences and strategies, and their journey to the MBQMA award. They will also discuss their schools’ successes from both an SLT perspective and a on the ground perspective, showing how they evidence their progress and how they are developing the nurture principals throughout the whole school.  

Nicola Furey - Five ways to Wellbeing

Do you wake up with same feeling, doing the same thing as you've always done and interacting in the same way? How about finding out a new way to doing everyday things that will promote better wellbeing for yourself and in the process helping your children to take responsibility for their own wellbeing too. Then this workshop is for you! The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based actions which promote people’s wellbeing. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. These activities are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives to promote wellbeing. Since launching the Five Ways to Wellbeing in our school it has been successful in capturing the imagination of staff, parents and children. We have developed and extended it further to support our children's resilience, social, emotional and mental health. The workshop will explore each individual strand of the five ways, giving practical ideas and strategies to achieving better wellbeing for all. It will also examine and give details of how through this programme we launched Buoyancy balloons and Badges of Honour, resulting in increasing self-efficacy and wellbeing for our children.

Miranda Collins - Let me tell you a story

When you share a story with a child, the experience is about more than the words and pictures in the book. The intimacy of being in close proximity with the person who is reading, the sensory stimulation of the sounds of the words and images of the illustrations all contribute to an emotional experience as well as a cognitive one. We know very well what sharing stories bring children in terms of their emerging literacy skills – the ability to listen, to follow a sequence, to retain information, to understand similarities and differences… the list could and does go on! During this session, we will consider ways of evidencing the acquisition of cognitive skills through stories, in order that delegates are more confident in planning appropriate literacy activities that fill the identified gaps in a child’s literacy learning. But what about the emotional aspects of sharing stories? This workshop will look at the essential emotional processes at work when we share stories with children, from the hormonal response that occurs in the background to the way in which we can use stories wisely to comfort, calm and teach. In addition, delegates will discover a range of books that promote emotional literacy, social skills and curious questioning, thinking also about the range of texts and how each might be used in nurture. By the end of the workshop, delegates will have a framework for evidencing how sharing stories in nurture can make a considerable impact on both aspects.

Please check back regularly for updates on further workshops


To register your interest, and request a booking form and brochure, please email Gill Fewins. Booking will open in late November. 


Summer school with masterclass day - £595 +VAT

Summer school only - £495 + VAT


NGN is delighted to announce that once again, we are able to provide 100 bursaries of £100 for this event. The bursaries are on a first-come first-served basis and are non-transferable between delegates. To apply for your bursary, please contact Gill Fewins in the London office on 020 3475 8980.