The power of nurture

  • The power of nurture

A conference that aims to collate for the first time the most important research demonstrating the effectiveness of nurture groups in child development and school improvement will take place in London in on 9 October 2014.

Run by The Nurture Group Network (NGN), the First International Research Conference on Nurture in Education will bring together academics, consultants, school leaders, psychologists and special needs practitioners to explore evidence-based research into the effectiveness of nurture-based interventions.

Call for papers

The conference’s editorial board – led by the NGN’s chair of trustees, Dr Mark Turner – has issued a call for papers that will explore themes of effectiveness of nurture groups, neuroscience, school culture, school improvement, nurture in education, and related subjects.

Abstracts of between 200-300 words should be submitted – by 21 April 2014 – following the submission guidelines on NGN’s website. Papers submitted for consideration should be directly related to nurture groups or nurture principles in education. Preference will be given to papers that have not been previously published.

Papers presented at conference will be published, subject to peer-review, in the first issue of a new academic journal focusing on nurture groups and nurture provision that NGN plans to launch later this year.

Dr Turner, who is a co-founder of NGN and a visiting fellow at the University of East London, says: “There is plenty of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of nurture groups in school improvement but it tends to be spread over a number of publications. There is no single focal point that channels all relevant research and findings.

“This conference will be the first time anyone has sought to establish the complete evidence base for nurture groups and distil it to all the people who need to know about it.”

The conference aims to attract as delegates not just researchers in this field but practising psychologists, special needs practitioners, school leaders, nurture practitioners, consultants and local authority officers.

In preparing for the call for papers, NGN has pulled together a comprehensive literature review that has highlighted some of the gaps in current research.

Dr Turner adds: “We know that some issues are not addressed in the published research. We want to close the research gap our literature review has identified, and some of those answers might already be out there just waiting for a forum in which to be presented.”

Raising the profile of nurture groups

Nurture Group Network’s chief executive Kevin Kibble says: “Nurture groups work, and plenty of people know they work, but they do not have the profile that is proportionate to the impact they have on people’s lives. That’s what we are trying to change through the conference, the journal and a number of other initiatives we are working on. The conference is part of a concerted attempt by NGN to raise the profile of nurture and nurture groups in all schools.

“The more people who have access to this evidence base, the more they will be able to make a persuasive and comprehensive case for establishing nurture groups in their schools, but particularly in secondary schools, where this type of school improvement is relatively new.”

Other confirmed members of the editorial advisory board include Dr Marianne Coleman of London University’s Institute of Education, Professor Tony Cline of University College London and University of Bedfordshire, and Dr Tina Rae of the University of East London. The International Research Conference on Nurture in Education will take place in Kingsway Hall in London on 9 October 2014.

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