Nurturing Schools Network logo

The Nurturing Schools Network

Family Links believes every child deserves the best chance in life. Through the Nurturing Schools Network, we help children develop the character and emotional resilience that will help them achieve their potential, live flourishing lives, and make a positive contribution to their community.

Our aim is to build an active community of schools and teachers who are committed to promoting emotional health and wellbeing; where everyone can aspire, flourish and achieve.

Aspire:
We believe that being emotionally healthy, having robust levels of self-esteem and a sense of empowerment, choice and responsibility will support the aspirations of children and adults to reach their potential and make the most out of school life.
Flourish:
We support school communities where individuals feel valued, understood, and respected. Our courses encourage empathy, positive relationships & improved communication, and provide skills and strategies to promote emotional health, resilience and wellbeing.
Achieve:
We provide tools to create a learning environment which is focused, disciplined and purposeful; where there is respectful communication, guidance without criticism, and a positive climate in which everyone can achieve their goals.
School classroom setting

Outcomes for schools and teachers

Family Links Nurturing Schools Network (formerly Transforming Learning) whole school approach - long case study
Family Links Nurturing Schools Network (formerly Transforming Learning) whole school approach - long case study

We provide a range of training courses and professional development days for school staff to enable them to develop positive behaviour, improve social and emotional wellbeing, and build resilience for staff and pupils.

  • Create nurturing, empathic communities in which adults and children can thrive.
  • Improve pupil behaviour with the use of consistent and fair discipline strategies that build life-long skills for young people.
  • Engage children’s social and emotional development and create safe, inclusive classrooms through a new approach to Circle Time activities.
  • Empower children to take control of their own personal and social management.
  • Support the emotional wellbeing of teachers and improve teacher retention and continuity.

Find out more about the evidence to support the effectiveness of our work with schools and outcomes for teachers and children.

Training courses for schools

Nurturing Schools Network offers a range of workshops and professional development courses that give practical guidance on how to encourage and foster emotional and social wellbeing in the classroom as well as the staffroom. This helps create a school in which both children and staff can flourish to the full extent of their potential.

The training was fantastic and the term has started so positively. Thank you for doing such an amazing job and I hope other schools value your expertise as much as we do.

Developing Emotional Resilience

Practical Strategies to Develop Emotional Resilience – a training course

Developing positive behaviour and improving social and emotional wellbeing and resilience for staff and pupils.

This training course:

  • Helps schools ensure they are calm, kind and respectful communities
  • Promotes effective positive behaviour strategies for use in the classroom and around the school
  • Improved relationships based on respect and effective communication
  • How to build and protect staff wellbeing
  • How to establish a nurturing classroom climate
  • Effective use of Circle Time
  • Parental Engagement strategies
  • Expertise in feedback to promote learning

Outcomes for you, your class and your school:

  • Children make positive choices for themselves and others
  • Increased resilience
  • Better emotional health
  • Students learn to take responsibility for their behaviour and improve social skills
  • Work collaboratively to build a positive, supportive school community

Each school will receive:

  • The Teaching Puzzle book—a written guide to developing emotional resilience in schools for each participant.
  • Eight curriculum handbooks of your choice with lesson plans for teaching social and emotional skills (available in each primary phase).
  • Resources for your school: The Nurturing Game, Feeling Faces and Ask It Tell It
  • Nurturing Schools Network membership

Understanding Teenagers in School

Understanding Teenagers in School; promoting resilience and motivation – a professional development course

This course include ideas and strategies for professionals to maintain boundaries, motivation and support for young people in an emotionally healthy context.

Key topics:

  • Emotional health for all – how feelings drive behaviour
  • The science of teenage brain development
  • A trainee adult – the adolescent developmental process
  • Autonomy promotion – what do young people need from adults?
  • Self-esteem, power and expectations
  • Managing risk and promoting resilience

Outcomes:

  • The principles of emotional health
  • Understanding adolescent brain development
  • Strategies for building positive relationships with young people
  • How to be authoritative
  • Factors that promote resilience in young people

Adolescence is the most significant period of change in the brain apart from the first year of life; it is not until the early 20s that the brain begins to look like that of an adult.

The work brings together the latest understanding from neuroscience and developmental psychology and the principles of the Nurturing Programme, one of the leading social and emotional education interventions in the UK.

Initial Teacher Training

Initial teacher education providers
Two trainee teachers tell their stories
Two trainee teachers tell their stories

We work closely with Initial Teacher Education providers around the country, including Teach First, Canterbury Christ Church University, Oxford Brookes University, Birmingham City University and Ark as well as directly with schools. Our approach gives new teachers the skills, strategies and knowledge to create positive classroom environments and build respect, good communication and positive relationships with the whole school community.

We equip trainee teachers with skills and strategies that help them achieve the highest levels of performance as outlined by teacher standards and the Ofsted Framework.

  • Improve the efficacy of new and trainee teachers by providing practical strategies for assessing and managing the emotional climate of the classroom.
  • Equip teachers with an understanding of the connections between emotional health, self-esteem and pupil behaviour.
  • Provide experiential training that develops teacher skills in the facilitation of Circle Time activities.
  • Create nurturing, empathic learning communities in which children and adults can thrive – academically, socially and emotionally.
  • Support the emotional wellbeing of trainee and newly qualified teachers.
Family Links has enabled me to start my teaching journey feeling valued, positive and most importantly equipped to deal with the complex issues faced everyday as a teacher.

Courses for trainee teachers

Developing Emotional Resilience for new teachers – a training course

The structure and content of the course is carefully mapped to the Teaching Agency Standards for Trainee Teachers. There is a particular emphasis on S1 (Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils), S4 (Plan and teach well-structured lessons), S5 (Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils) and S7 (manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment). The workshop explores practical ideas and strategies that help trainee teachers meet these standards and shows how to connect the psychological needs of children to the creation of safe and productive learning environments. The topics covered include: understanding empathy; understanding the learning environment; co-creating class agreements; collaborative reward systems; effective praise; the challenge of criticism and how to give meaningful feedback; personal power; choices and consequences; managing difficult feelings; Time Out; I statements; behaviour to ignore; facilitating Circle Time. A section of the day also generates insights into working effectively with parents.

Download the training course overview as a PDF

Understanding the Adolescent Brain; promoting resilience and motivation – a professional development course

This course include ideas and strategies for professionals to maintain boundaries, motivation and support for young people in an emotionally healthy context.

Key topics:

  • Emotional health for all – how feelings drive behaviour
  • The science of teenage brain development
  • A trainee adult – the adolescent developmental process
  • Autonomy promotion – what do young people need from adults?
  • Self-esteem, power and expectations
  • Managing risk and promoting resilience

Outcomes:

  • The principles of emotional health
  • Understanding adolescent brain development
  • Strategies for building positive relationships with young people
  • How to be authoritative
  • Factors that promote resilience in young people

Adolescence is the most significant period of change in the brain apart from the first year of life; it is not until the early 20s that the brain begins to look like that of an adult.

The work brings together the latest understanding from neuroscience and developmental psychology and the principles of the Nurturing Programme, one of the leading social and emotional education interventions in the UK.

Download the training course overview as a PDF

We appreciate that ITE providers have different requirements and we would therefore normally work with you to structure a workshop to your exact specification.

If you are an ITE provider and interested in this training, please contact Gail Allan for an informal discussion.

Outcomes for trainee teachers

  • Relationships between adults and children in the school improve, resulting in increased motivation and achievement
  • Trainee teachers feel more confident in their abilities to teach effectively
  • Teachers have a better understanding of the connections between emotional health, self-esteem and pupil behaviour; children and adults thrive academically; socially and emotionally
  • Trainee teachers felt twice as confident in dealing with challenging behaviour
  • 60% increase in the number of trainee teachers who felt confident giving constructive feedback
  • Trainee teachers’ measured performance improved for behaviour management; setting high expectations and creating a good and safe classroom environment
  • Significant improvements in teacher wellbeing; particularly for newly qualified teachers (NQTs)

Teach First

Teach First logo

Family Links has been working in partnership with Teach First since 2008. We have worked with every new Teach First primary teacher and provided workshops, seminars and resources focused on improved emotional health and wellbeing for the whole school community. Teach First has transformed the impact of many schools in challenging areas; we are proud to be supporting their success. As of September 2015:

  • 1195 primary school teachers have attended a Family Links workshop
  • 80 secondary school teachers have benefited from training and resources
  • Every new primary and early years school teacher trained: 452 in total in 2015
  • 96% of trainee primary school teachers agreed they had strategies to manage behaviour in a positive way after their Family Links session
  • 92% of early years participants agreed the Family Links workshop would help them manage their own stress levels in the classroom.
  • 98% agreed the workshop helped them respond to children, colleagues and parents with empathy
  • 99% agreed that they had learned useful ideas for positive behaviour management
  • 97% agreed that they had effective strategies for using praise

Our evidence base

Resources for schools

We have an extensive range of books, handbooks and DVDs for use by schools – you can find all of these by going to our online shop

The Teaching Puzzle is the definitive practical guide to managing the emotional atmosphere of the children and adults in your school. The book is for all teachers and teaching assistants directly involved in classroom teaching, and for anyone else who is part of the wider school community, including head teachers, governors, key stage co-ordinators, SENCOs, after school club coordinators, lunchtime supervisors and volunteers. This book is designed for use with children aged 3 to 11.

Our four classroom handbooks provide in-depth practical guidance for teachers. Emotionally literate strategies for positive behaviour management are shared with school staff via school training and with children via Circle Times facilitated by the class teacher – based on these four age-related classroom handbooks.

Family Links: Early Years Foundation Stage classroom handbook cover.
Family Links: Key Stage 1 classroom handbook cover.
Family Links: Key Stage 2 classroom handbook cover.
Family Links: The Teaching Puzzle book cover.

Post Graduate Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning

Canterbury Christ Church University logo

Postgraduate Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University

This Postgraduate Certificate is for teachers and others involved in education who are interested in exploring the social and emotional dimensions of learning. The course involves developing a creative, nurturing and reflective approach to your professional practice and exploring practical issues and developing effective responses in your own setting. You will be supported in improving your critical and leadership skills in working with children and families with diverse needs, in the context of current political and organisational priorities.

What will I study?

You will gain a postgraduate certificate (60 Masters level credits) which can be transferred if you undertake further Masters study.

In module 1, you will engage critically with the theory, rationale and practice of social and emotional learning, focussing particularly on schools. The module draws on critical exploration, application and evaluation of the approaches of the Family Links Nurturing Programme, as a case study in the broader context of a range of theoretical and professional perspectives.

In module 2 you will reflect deeply and authentically on your own experiences of emotions in education as a teacher and as a learner.

In module 3, you will explore creative approaches to empowering the social and emotional development within your school community or other education setting; and engage critically with issues of leadership in curriculum, pedagogy, classroom environment and lesson design.

What can I do next?

The course is written to support you in developing your career as a teacher or other educational professional who can offer specialist knowledge and support others in aspects of social and emotional learning in a range of educational settings and through partnerships with families.

After completing the postgraduate certificate you will have the option to transfer the credits and complete the CCCU MA in Education.

Assessment

You will be required to submit three assignments of 4000 words each. These will include:

  • Written exploration of a selected theme arising from taught sessions
  • Reflective journal
  • Small-scale action research project.

More information about fees and how to apply can be found on CCCU’s website

Social and emotional health presentations

Social and emotional wellbeing is related to academic attainment, earning potential and resilience for life. The Nurturing Schools Network offers a range of presentations, workshops and webinars focused on emotional health and well-being.

These are suitable for:

  • providers of professional qualifications, e.g. teaching, social work, care services
  • teacher education – specialist training
  • conferences & events

Download our Conference Speakers Pack for more information & biographies

We would be delighted to speak with you about what we can offer and how to arrange a presentation. Contact Miranda or Verity to find out more.

Claire (Head of the Nurturing Schools Network) speaking about emotional health at the Festival of Education 2016