Yeo Moor Primary School has participated in a pilot programme to meet the needs of children with mild Social, Emotional, and Mental Health needs (SEMH needs) in school, using a preventative approach.

Nurture UK provided extensive training for the lead teacher and a member of SLT. The training developed an understanding of how trauma affects children, including attachment and how the brain works.

We refurbished a room called the Home Hub, which is set up to feel like a home environment. There is a large kitchen table, and snack time is a regular part of the routine. Children prepare a snack, enjoy time around the table, and clear up together. Careful work and planning supports that feeling of a family-type environment where the adults model warmth, courtesy, and problem-solving.

The guiding principles and understanding developed through setting up the Home Hub have not stayed in the Home Hub. The trauma-informed approach led us to look at wider school practice differently.

Most schooling and careers have happened in places with a behaviourist approach. You will hear very successful schools talk proudly of their system of sanctions and rewards. We have learnt that a system of sanctions and rewards is good but not good enough. Many children need a more relational approach (read the Kindness Principle by Dave Whitaker). All children can benefit from a nurturing approach.

This reassessment has not been comfortable, and it is not yet complete.

We have not yet discovered a magic wand, but there is something reassuring about meeting some of our most demanding situations with an approach related to the child’s needs.

The Home Hub has already been a success story. Even if you look at simple metrics like school attendance, there have been significant improvements. What most excites us are the children who now feel very positive about school and are in an excellent place to learn.

People make big claims about the importance of school culture. We think the nurturing approach has done something very important here and has much to offer other schools.

Roland Lovatt, Headteacher, Yeo Moor Primary School