Falcon Junior School first impressed me at an open evening in 2013. Speaking to the staff, pupils and parents, I realised that the school embraced the principle that if a child feels safe and happy, they will thrive. I knew immediately that my daughter would be nurtured there, and she was.
Falcon has provided nurture for those who need it for many years. Any child or adult struggling with an aspect of school or life can benefit from and access nurture provision there.
Nurture provision follows six principles:
• Children's learning is understood developmentally
• The classroom offers a safe base
• Nurture is important for developing wellbeing
• Language is a vital means of communication
• All behaviour is communication
• Transition is important in children's lives
You can find more information at www.nurtureuk.org
In 2013 the school had a large nurture room with soft furnishings, books and games; a safe place for children to go when experiencing difficulties. Due to increasing demand, the school has had to expand, gradually adding 120 child places. During renovations, nurture was temporarily relocated to the corner of an office with only a sofa, some cushions and a coffee table: much of the equipment put in storage. The school Food Tech area, where the nurture lead Karen Wimhurst had helped children prepare, serve and share a meal in a social situation on a weekly basis, was also lost in the restructuring. This was an invaluable part of nurture provision as using role play to teach life and social skills increases self-confidence and addresses food or eating issues.
Space is limited but nurture provision continues; Mrs Wimhurst often struggling to keep within her part time “nurture hours”.
The intention was to renovate the unused School Caretaker’s bungalow into a nurture base: “The Nest”. Mrs Wimhurst and her team would then be able to deliver, full time, the nurture provision she is so passionate about:
“Children need to feel safe in order to learn. Whether they suffer with anxiety, are grieving, struggle with self-esteem or just need to be listened to, space plays a huge role in their school journey. The Nest needs to be a calm place to share their thoughts and feel encouraged. My office is not the place!”
Sadly, the project was delayed due to the big upheaval of building a new block, and again when its allocated funds were used to urgently replace the school’s hot water system. The bungalow has since been neglected and is used for storage. With the amount of repair and upgrading work required in the school, including the likelihood of replacing the school’s heating system (quoted at £300,000) in a few years, and the limited resources available, The Nest remains low on an increasingly long list of more urgent projects.
Falcon PTA raised over £6000 last year for projects benefitting the school, and this year hopes to raise even more, but funds are already committed to the new library and outdoor enrichment projects. An award from the Aviva Community Fund would mean that “The Nest” project could happen sooner and be fully equipped and adapted for purpose; with complete accessibility.
The renovation project aims to:
• Replace the bathroom with two toilet cubicles and a wash basin
• Convert the bedrooms into calming work areas
• Redecorate throughout and provide soft furnishings
• Replace the existing kitchen with a new “food tech” area.
• Create a “herb garden” outside.
The Nest would provide a safe place for children to explore their feelings, learn social skills and develop self-confidence to improve wellbeing, help them integrate with their peers and fulfil their potential. The bungalow’s separation from the school gives it the added benefit of privacy.
“When you are upset, you don’t want people seeing you. Then they might ask questions and you will have to think about being upset all over again.”
Please help us provide Falcon Junior School with The Nest: invest in the future!