An explorative case study of a Scottish secondary school nurture group focusing upon the transfer of learning from the nurture group to the wider school setting

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Within Scotland, The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act (2009), outlines the legal obligation for schools to provide a framework to support children and young people who may require additional support including those with ‘emotional and social difficulties.’ This case study explores the use of a secondary Nurture group approach - a school-based intervention first designed for use in the primary sector, and used to support pupils perceived as experiencing, or those at risk of developing social, emotional and behavioural difficulties/needs (SEBD/N). The study examines the wider contexts of inclusion and SEBD/N as well as the underlying theories of the Nurture approach and transfer of learning as presented by the literature. Drawing from an interpretivist perspective, semi structured group and individual interviews, participant observation and document analysis were used to elicit the perceptions of a variety of stakeholders who have a locus in relation to this particular case. Participants were asked questions pertaining to Nurture group pupils’ transfer of social, emotional and behavioural competencies from the Nurture group to the wider school setting, the affordances and constraints involved in the transfer of competencies and ways in which the approach could be developed to further improve outcomes for children. Transcripts of the data garnered were analysed thematically. Findings showed feelings of connectedness, pupil and teacher agency and staff attunement to be crucial factors in pupils’ transfer of competencies from the Nurture group to the wider school setting. The study highlights the need for more research into pupil attachments formed within the Nurture group and the development of staff attunement to pupils, principles and pedagogy in fostering effective transfer.
Date of Award12 Sep 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorJoan Mowat (Supervisor) & Ian Rivers (Supervisor)

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