Teachers set to make a difference

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Eight additional teachers, who will work with children in special nurture groups in selected primary schools, will be appointed to South Ayrshire Council, making a real difference to the lives of young people.

The recruitment of more teachers is a direct result of additional funding of £337,000 from the Scottish Government which is making £15 million of funding available across the country specifically for the employment of additional teachers.

The funding will be used to continue a programme of nurture groups piloted in Newton, Braehead, Heathfield and Girvan Primary Schools.

These schools already had very good early years teaching staff and experience of working in an area where some of the community were dealing with multiple deprivation issues.

For over 40 years across the UK, nurture groups have broadened the horizons and life opportunities of some of the most vulnerable children and young people. From the earliest origins of nurture groups in 1960s, children have become more socially adept, emotionally resilient, self-confident and ready to learn because of their nurturing experience.

Nurture groups in schools address the needs of children who have missed out on positive early life experiences which promote secure social, emotional and behavioural development. The nurture group teachers give additional support to the children within their mainstream school, ensuring they feel included, secure and have support for any problems that they may encounter.

The activities of nurture groups vary according to the individual developmental needs of the children. Group activities include eating together so children can interact positively with others and improve their listening and speaking skills; meeting in a special place in the school where there is soft seating making children more relaxed; and acknowledging or rewarding good behaviour such as walking properly in the corridor, playing nicely or listening properly to other students.

Councillor Hywel Davies, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said: “The nurture groups have proved highly effective.”