They cannot stop me. I will get my education, if it is in the home, school, or anyplace.”
Located in Room A111; the new Foyle College nurture unit is known simply as The Home Room. We aim to link this additional needs facility to the secure relaxing, calming connotations of “home;” along with the emotional acceptance of still being a valued part of the Foyle Family, in a classroom setting. Working in close conjunction with the Learning Support management team and teachers, we aim to support our
students when they need it.
The room features brightly presented, age-appropriate motivational posters; homely decoration; a relaxing essential oil steam diffuser light; along with plants and flowers. A welcome feature of the facility is “Cosy Corner.” This is a screened off, quiet, soft, relaxed space with weighted blankets, a lava lamp and soft settees, for pupils who may need to privately self-regulate and self-comfort, when having a particularly stressful episode, and require a little space / time out from theirnormal working day.
Regular Home Room students have their own work space for continuity and access to lap-tops when needed. They also have a dedicated classroom assistant. The Home Room CA ensures the space is tightly managed with agreed rules, for pupils accessing it, to complete classwork. Everylesson that is completed there is logged with feedback to relevant school staff.
What is the role of “Nurture Groups” in Secondary Schools?
Nurture groups are an approach to inclusion designed to open up learning for children who are struggling for a variety of reasons. They usually take the form of a small discrete class, offering a safe, structured and predictable environment. “The Nurture Room is a place within the school where children can be given freedom to express themselves. The aim is to effectively address the children's needs and
prevent exclusion from the classroom and any distress caused by them not having the coping skills, through no fault of their own.” EA Website 2022
The initial intentions of The Home Room include:
· To help pupils experiencing difficulties back into the normal school routine as soon as possible; starting in the Home Room, with the intention of ultimately going back to all the classes in their timetable.
· To encourage pupils to stay in school on “bad” days.
· To provide an emotional safe-haven for pupils who may have an unexpected anxiety attack or sudden emotional episode whilst in class with their teacher and peers.
· To ensure that pupils identified by the Learning Support Unit as being at risk, do not fall behind on their work and achieve their full potential in important coursework / exams.
· To work to remove the barriers many school refusing pupils perceive exist, which are preventing them from enjoying learning with their peers in a classroom setting in Foyle College.
· To give them somewhere non judgemental to help get back into the school routine.
· To be understanding that they can’t learn when they are overwhelmed by their anxieties.
· To provide a quiet harbour in their storm - for as long as they need—hopefully only for a while.
· To facilitate pupils to eventually stop needing to work in the Home Room.
· To make them proud, reminding them that their education is for “YOU” (not your parents/teachers). It’s for your future self.
· To provide a secure space to talk, to be inspired, to be motivated, to have school related anxiety / worries addressed; e.g. for exams.
· To offer reassurance that all teenagers have “bad” days; which does not equate to them being “bad” people or a “failure” or a “disappointment”.
· To refer them to Learning Mentor programmes to learn relevant school coping strategies.
· To cry and complain . . . and then move on.
· To have someone to listen, who cares, to make proud.
· To reassure them that it’s ok to be different / to feel different.
· To work together for solutions to problems
· To show them how to be fluid — life has its ups and downs—build resilience, self esteem and encourage a positive outlook.
Pupils will be referred to and pre-approved for the Home Room to complete their classwork with Home Room CA, in a strictly maintained, quiet academic environment. The Home Room will also provide supervision for SEN pupils who have a reduced timetable; only during lessons when they have Private Study and have classwork to complete.