Senna Zvonic Tracey Tomlinson Trudi McWilliams
Dunkirk Primary Blossom Group – Specialist Nurture and SEND Provision
Dunkirk Primary School is fully committed to a nurturing ethos and Blossom group is structured around the six principles of nurture as below:
- Learning is developed developmentally
- The classroom offers a safe base
- The importance of nurture for the development of wellbeing
- Language is a vital means of communication
- All behaviour is communication
- The importance of transition in the lives of our children
Our Abbey campus nurture group – Blossom class has been running since January 2015. We recognise that some children in our school are not ready to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life and struggle to respond appropriately to other children. This is for a variety of reasons including children with attachment type difficulties, children with no previous school experience, children arriving from overseas with little or no English - some of whom were also not speaking their home language and children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) including autistic traits and learning delay. The school graduated response system ensures that children who need support beyond the classroom have their needs met within the nurture provision.
Blossom class is staffed by highly experienced practitioners. The lead practitioner is a level 4 Teaching Assistant (TA) with a wealth of expertise in supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), speech and language difficulties and behaviour difficulties. The Blossom staff team work together with the class teachers to plan adapted curriculums through quality first teaching in line with children’s needs. Staff meet regularly with the school special educational needs coordinator (senco) and leadership team to discuss and review pupil’s progress. Progress is monitored through ongoing assessments.
Morning sessions in Blossom focus on the national curriculum with daily phonics, English, reading, and maths sessions. For some children the national curriculum is not appropriate, and those children receive a multi-sensory learning path. Afternoon session activities focus on the six principles of nurture, incorporating broader curriculum subjects, science, art, music, and physical education.
We strongly believe in an inclusive environment at Dunkirk, and children who access our nurture provision are included in their mainstream classes and whole school events (where appropriate), including playtimes, lunch times, trips and special events. Some children have full time placements in Blossom and for others a part time program is appropriate. The aim is for children to re-join their class, with a gradual reduction of nurture group provision where appropriate. For some pupils this takes longer than others, depending on their progress, some children will have a full time placement in Blossom for the duration of their time at Dunkirk.
We believe it is vital to work in partnership with parents and carers. Therefore, Blossom staff are available at the end of each school day should parents want to discuss their child. Regular review meetings with parents, class teachers, Blossom staff, Senco and leadership monitor and review progress and address any concerns.
We have seen significant improvements in children’s wellbeing, communication skills, behaviour and achievement - this has been observed by speech and language therapists, Autism teachers form the autism support team, teachers from the behaviour support team. Staff, parents and children have also noticed a significant increase in confidence, self-esteem and love of school.