“I can teach half this class; the other half I want to ‘mother”. I remember, very clearly, uttering these words in exasperation at a staff meeting at Kingsmead Infant School, Hackney in the autumn of 1971, almost 50 years ago.
THE EARLY YEARS
Sylvia became the first ever Nurture teacher and much has happened since then as, in Marjorie’s words, ‘teachers picked it (nurture) up and ran with it’ words, which as always, under played her part in nurturing the teachers and helpers (assistants) and encouraging us to think as active researchers, not least in developing the earliest Boxall Profile from our close observations and assiduous note taking.
DEVELOPMENT OF NURTURE
The development of the Nurturing School was, for me, a logical step as the cooperation and understanding of the rest of the staff was essential when I became the school’s headteacher while needing to continue as nurture teacher until another was appointed.
The underlying concepts were developed further in my next headship (Lucas 1999) and later, in retirement, into higher education at University of London Institute of Education and school leadership consultancy across London and the south East and abroad. In 2005 I revised and updated Marjorie Boxall’s book, Nurture Groups in Schools, Principles and Practice and, in 2006, with colleagues from the 4day nurture course at IOE, wrote Nurture Group Principles and Curriculum Guidelines. Leadership consultancy for a voluntary organisation led to in service training of overseas teachers and headteachers from Central America, Uganda, Zambia, and the far East. The resulting handbook,
The Kairos Programme: Home School Based Education (2016) which was based on work and observations made on visits to schools in El Salvador and Zambia is now used across Central America, Africa, and the Philippines. More recently I have been able to contribute the Forward and two papers to the International Journal of Nurture in Education. (2018, 2019, 2020).
Alongside the work in schools and colleges, the formalisation of what has become the nurture movement has also continued to develop from a loose collaboration of practitioners into a charitable business which, responding to changing needs and policy in education and society, has evolved in its organisation and structure while holding firmly to the core principles and Boxall’s original vision. This new venture into Nurture International is extremely exciting and I am delighted and honoured to be asked to be its Patron.