Our Nurture Journey

Our Nurture Journey by Amanda Ormond, Team Lead of Out for 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.