Well, first day back! My 12th year teaching, seventh as SENCo. The first day is always difficult, particularly so this year – not really sure why!

An interesting, and motivating, day of INSET. We were framing the school’s innovative approach to the new curriculum. Pretty exciting really.

After the usual exam analysis – best ever 75% A*-Cs – and launch of our specialist status, it was my turn. My first opportunity to outline our brand new initiative, the ‘Nurture Group’, a developing and revolutionary approach to individualised learning and participation..

‘Nurture Group’ places are going to be offered to 12 Year 6 students and two Year 7 students who we think will benefit from additional personalised support for their learning and participation. They will be taught as a discrete group, initially, then individual students will become integrated into mainstream lessons when they have developed the skills necessary to help them with the rigours of the curriculum.

The structure of each day allows for individualised target setting and review. They will follow a combination of specific learning strategies (e.g. the TEACCH method), ideas developed by the controversial Dr Bruno Bettelheim in the 1950s and the New Curriculum 2008 in conjunction with the QCA PLTS; establishing a truly personal bespoke learning experience for each student.

I am very excited about the development, which hopes to support, through pro-active intervention, those students who develop mental health needs as they go through adolescence and into KS4.

Still in early developmental stages, but with a good deal of interest from CAMHS and Educational Psychology services, this venture promises to be an interesting journey…one which was well received from the staff on one of the most difficult days in the school year – the first day back!