With Fagus, Nurture Learning identifies their pupils‘ social and emotional needs and shapes their bespoke strategies

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Fagus has helped Nurture Learning:

  • Capture a picture of their pupils' social and emotional developmental strengths and weaknesses.

  • Offer a reflective way of understanding behaviours.

  • Customise the educational environment.

  • Understand the nuances in a child's development and how this can impact on learning.

  • Realign the team's expectations of a child, demonstrating their actual developmental stage.
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You can download this case study here

Nurture Learning, located in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, is a small alternative provision for children who require a therapeutic and customised learning experience and are in the process of registering with the DfE. Pupils can access a curriculum that has been tailored to their academic and more importantly emotional needs, where existing barriers to learning are dismantled.

Sarah Fernihough, Founder of Nurture Learning, explains why she set up the provision:

“My adopted son had previously struggled in main-stream education, probably stemming from his tough start in life. He needed a more nurturing school environment which could develop his strong academic skills alongside understanding his underlying anxieties and providing an empathic social and emotional approach."

Why Fagus?

Sarah explains:

“From the outset we needed a framework that could analyse our children’s underlying social and emotional functioning and highlight their specific deficits. When we were establishing Nurture Learning, we came across the pioneering trauma-informed Beech Lodge School and the Fagus resources. After evaluating a few different tools, we decided that Fagus would be the most suitable as it could give us an informative graphical depiction of our children’s developmental skill set across a range of social and emotional disciplines, while accentuating their strengths and highlighting their weaknesses. We could then create individualised goals to address any skill gaps and put specific action-plans in place to measure progress. It was also a very cost-effective resource and easy to implement.”

Fagus in Action

Sarah describes their use of Fagus:

“Initially we spend time observing a child, but after a couple of months when we feel we know the child well enough, the entire team gets together to complete a full social and emotional Developmental Profile by working through all the online checklists, alongside browsing through the Developmental Guides to understand the context, background and finer detail of each social and emotional area.

We discuss the Developmental Profile output and select which areas of need we should tackle first. We then use the behavioural statements from the Developmental Checklists (focusing on the age-relevant behaviours that the child is yet to demonstrate) combined with the more granular information in the Developmental Guides to set SMART targets and map out an accompanying plan.”

Fagus Benefits

• Setting Realistic Expectations

“The Fagus Developmental Profile gives us a striking portrayal of what our age expectations of the child should be and a unified insight into the challenges our children face. In many cases it illustrates that a child is significantly delayed in their social and emotional development and they are demonstrating the behaviours of a younger child. We can be more reflective in our practice, reframe our expectations and tailor our interactions to provide the best support for the child.”

,• Establish the Barriers to Learning

"The Developmental Profile may explain why a child is struggling with some learning areas more than others. For example, we assessed a pupil’s development in the Language domain and we discovered that while they had an age-appropriate understanding of pragmatics and the expressive language construct, their understanding of receptive language was underdeveloped. We then sought the advice of a SALT who helped us put the relevant goals in place to improve receptive language understanding."

• The Right Environment for Skill Development

"Fagus helps to identify what particular skills and experiences our children need in order to access the curriculum. For example, if the assessment picks up that a child is struggling to apply appropriate coping strategies in the classroom, they may be better to learn these skills in a different environment, such as in outdoor learning, where they are feeling more regulated and relaxed and better able to connect to their peers and teachers.”

• A Positive Way Forward

"The Developmental Guides enable us to comprehensively explain the developmental processes behind our pupils' behaviour to multi-agency staff, parents and the inhouse team, offering everybody a more positive way forward. With the implementation of the right strategies and setting the most developmentally appropriate goals, a child can advance through the developmental sequence and be more ready to learn.”


Sarah summarises:

“Fagus has helped us interpret our children’s hidden developmental needs and their impact on behaviour and realign our expectations about what our children can and cannot do. It enables us to provide the best environment we can with the most relevant individualised strategies. In the future, we hope to expand our educational provision and supplementary outreach services with linked schools and hopefully hand-in-hand with Fagus, we can continue to provide a much needed proactive educational approach which will give more children the opportunity to achieve their educational aspirations.”

You can download this case study here