Davies, Oonagh M (2011)
Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
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Nurture Groups (NGs) are a focused intervention in mainstream schools, which strive to compensate for missed nurturing experiences in the early years through provision of small-group teaching in a home-like environment. This study is fundamentally concerned with understanding how social programmes like NGs work, and draws on Pawson and Tilley’s (1997) ‘Realistic Evaluation’ to provide a methodological and epistemological framework for this inquiry.
Staff practice crucially affects NGs, yet this remains a relatively poorly investigated domain. Within a ‘Realistic Evaluation’ framework, working collaboratively with NG practitioners as co-researchers, their perspectives on factors which influence practice and support staff development are explored. Pertinent context, mechanism and outcome configurations relating to NGs, staff role and effective training are abstracted.
A realist synthesis of the literature and scrutiny of research findings using qualitative data analysis, revealed practitioners’ perspectives on key mechanisms and contexts influencing practice at the community, family, whole school, mainstream class and NG levels, enabling positive outcomes for children attending NGs, and their families.
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