Nurture Information

Photo of Amanda Ormond

Our Nurture Journey by Amanda Ormond, Team Lead of Out of County Young People (VSK)

Virtual School Kent’s Nurture journey started back in 2016 when myself and a colleague contacted Nurture UK about their 3 day accredited course The Theory & Practice of Nurture Groups.

We were keen to find ways to support our schools to look at ways to be inclusive and reduce the number of exclusions for Kent children in care,  so off we went to Bethnal Green with open minds about how we could make this work at a Virtual School. The course equips practitioners to set up Nurture Groups in their schools.  We met some wonderful like minded professionals who wanted more for vulnerable young people, for them to be understood and included, and it was one lunch time sat in a sunny courtyard that we started to put down roots on how VSK could make this work.

With the continued support of Claire Wilson who conducted our training we planned a pilot scheme in the North Kent area. We invited a number of Primary and Secondary Schools to a venue in Kent to take part in the 3 day course with an agreement that the schools would complete their assignments to gain the accreditation to set up a Nurture Group in their schools within a year. The schools would be supported with Pupil Premium funding to resource their groups whilst myself and my colleague would undertake visits to help them on their journey. The scheme was a success and generated much interest throughout VSK so the offer was extended county wide. A number of our schools were so successful on their own Nurture journeys that they achieved the Nurture Quality mark which is awarded by Nurture UK.

I knew there was room for creativity within the accreditation's offered at Nurture UK and wondered if a Virtual School could achieve the National Nurturing Schools Program (NNSP). So with Claire Wilson’s help from Nurture UK, our Senior Leadership Team and the Directors at Nurture UK….we made it work and are proud to say we were the First Virtual School to have been awarded The NNSP Award in January 2022!

Our journey doesn’t end there. We continue to work together to gather evidence of our ongoing commitment to Nurture and intend to be successfully re-accredited in January 2025. Nurture runs through our veins at VSK and we work hard to keep the 6 principles alive in all we do.

Nurture Principles

  • Whatever changes you face we are here to guide you.
  • No matter what age, everyone is at a different stage.
  • VSK can help you find your voice.
  • How you behave tells us how you feel.
  • VSK can be your safe space.
  • Nurture helps you feel happy and healthy.

Please take a look at the VSK Nurture Principles video by our Head Teacher Tony Doran on what NNSP means to us and for all we work with. 

We strongly believe that the principles of Nurture are so important to help children to develop, grow and become the best person they can possibly be. To explain our principles the younger apprentices in our team have put them into words.

Please also take a look at the VSK Nurture Video: The Six Principles by Young People, for Young People explaining our six principles. 

If you are unable to view the video's please read the transcripts: VSK Nurture Principles by Tony Doran and VSK Nurture Video: The Six Principles by Young People, for Young People

Nurture UK Training

If you are an education setting which feels they may benefit from Nurture Group training, please check out the information on Nurture UK’s website and read The Theory and Practice of Nurture Groups

Boxall Profiles

  • This unique online tool assesses the social, emotional and mental development of pupils aged 4-18. It provides you with a precise picture of a pupil’s strengths, as well as any difficulties which could affect their learning. 

  • Based on these results, the Boxall Profile® also tells you what type of support each pupil needs, providing you with practical strategies and techniques for the classroom or nurture group to help them achieve their full potential.  

  • The Boxall Profile is the leading assessment tool of its kind, first developed in England and now used by over half of UK schools to assess their pupils’ mental health.

  • Boxall FAQs document 

  • Would a young person you know benefit from a Boxall profile? Please contact your VSK lead professional and they will be able to action this for you.

Nurture Ambassadors

Each Team in VSK has a Nurture Ambassador. They support their teams with collating evidence against the Nurture Standards and are our Nurture Champions across the service:

  • North Kent - Laura Hunt
  • South Kent - Vanessa Neal
  • West Kent - Emma Taylor
  • East Kent - Louise Walbyoff
  • VSKAT - Angela Courtney
  • OOC - Nicola Mitchell
  • Post16 - Jeffrey Reene