Eight schools in Argyll and Bute have received accreditation from the Council for their work in continuing to develop nurturing cultures and approaches across school communities.
The nurture programme is part of a wider strategy by the council, ‘Our Children, Their Nurturing Education (OCTNE)’, that aims to ensure that children and young people have the emotional and psychological support they need.
The council’s educational psychologists have been delivering a nurture programme across schools in the area over the last few months, taking them on a journey to becoming a school community that places nurture and relationships at its core. To date, 20 primary and secondary schools have already signed up. The first cohort to receive bronze awards for being nurture committed are Dalintober, Barcaldine, Innellan, Kilmodan, Kirn and Toward Primary Schools.
Rothesay Joint Campus (Secondary) and Port Charlotte Primary School were accredited with silver awards for being nurture aware.
The schools received their awards at a virtual OCTNE conference, where guest speakers included specialist teacher, therapist and a DDP certified practitioner, Louise Michelle Bombèr, and Jennifer Gibney, Principal Teacher at Barsail Primary School in Renfrewshire, where she has led the successful implementation of whole-school nurturing approaches.
The nurture programme is just one part of OCTNE. The strategy also seen a school counselling service launched earlier this year to ensure there is a dedicated resource for primary school children aged 10 years and over. In addition, the council’s Principal Educational Psychologist and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) have been collaborating to progress the mental health and wellbeing objectives within the Children and Young People Service Plan 2020 – 23.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Argyll and Bute is renowned for its great community spirit, and this is something I’m sure we all witnessed during lockdown. Our schools are no exception and we are building on this through OCTNE. We are encouraging our young people to support each other, to have empathy, and to embrace their individual skills and work together.
“Every child should be supported in reaching their full potential. By creating nurturing learning environments in our schools, we are delivering excellence and equity, helping to close the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people, and improving their health and wellbeing.
“I’m delighted that eight of our schools have already been accredited and look forward to seeing the results that the programme brings as it’s rolled out across the authority.”