A multiple case study to explore the implementation and effects of Nurture Groups as an intervention for pupils with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD) in secondary schools

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology

  • Authors:
  • Joanne Hilton


Background: Pupils with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD) are a cause for concern in education and although Nurture Groups (NGs) have been found to be an effective form of intervention for pupils displaying SEBD in primary schools, limited research exists regarding NGs in secondary schools. A key piece of research suggests that the implementation of a classic NG in a secondary school may be difficult. This study aims to investigate how classic NGs are delivered and how the implementation has been possible. Furthermore, it explores the effects of NG attendance for pupils. Participants: Two secondary schools housing classic NGs were identified through the Nurture Group Network (NGN). For each school, participants included a NG facilitator, a member of Senior Management and a professional from an external agency. Pupils were also recruited (6 from school 1 and 4 from school 2). Methods: A multiple case study design with embedded units of analysis was conducted (Yin, 2009). Various data streams were used including an initial questionnaire, observations, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and Boxall Profile for Young People (BPYP) data (Bennathan, Boxall & Colley, 2010).Analysis/Findings: Observational and questionnaire data were analysed using content analysis and interview/focus group data were thematically analysed following full transcription (Braun and Clarke, 2006). BPYP data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Conclusion/Implications: Findings reveal that classic NGs can be implemented into a secondary school. Whilst numerous barriers exist to implementation (including understanding, arrangements, engagement with others and having the necessary tools) numerous facilitators also existed, the majority of which could be matched to barriers (including engaging with others, having knowledge and skills that are respected, a supportive environment and supporting pupil attendance by altering perceptions). Benefits of the NG for individual pupils and the wider school were also found, some of which include improved emotional well-being and positive inclusion into mainstream with a sense of belonging. Negative effects to NG attendance were also found and are discussed.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Kathleen Tyldesley (Supervisor)
  • Kevin Woods (Supervisor)
Award date1 Aug 2015