Helping vulnerable young people make a successful transfer to secondary school: an evaluation of the effectiveness of a nurture group approach

de Montjoie Rudolf, Julia (2015). Helping vulnerable young people make a successful transfer to secondary school: an evaluation of the effectiveness of a nurture group approach. University of Birmingham. Ed.Psych.D.

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This study describes and evaluates an approach to supporting children at risk of failure to succeed as they transfer to secondary school. The Year 7 intervention project was based on knowledge and evidence from previous research into approaches and concerns regarding secondary school transfer and the historical use of nurture groups in schools. Secondary school transfer has long been identified as a time of risk for vulnerable children in the education system. In 1969 Nisbett and Entwistle concluded from a five year study that over 50% of students presented with identifiable problems in adjusting to secondary school, and in 2006 Atkinson was able to obtain children’s perspectives of the difficulties they faced at transfer.

A project was negotiated to provide a support mechanism, based upon a nurture group model, for transfer within one maintained secondary school. This aimed to enable children identified as vulnerable by their primary schools, to access a small group setting for part of their time in Year 7 within which were opportunities for a range of experiences based upon nurture principles, in addition to support for the mainstream-based curriculum. The intervention was evaluated using both academic progress and analysis of subjective accounts of the children and involved school staff and parents, to provide evidence of the impact of this provision upon ten students participating in this intervention.

Findings indicated that all involved staff, students and parents considered the intervention worthwhile and beneficial. Most students made progress throughout Year 7, not demonstrating the statistical ‘dip’ that has previously, consistently been evidenced nationally. Whilst the results were promising, this was a small scale study based in one school and there was not a control group against which to compare student progress within the school. There is also the possibility of confirmation bias due to the expectations of staff, and of the “Hawthorne effect” of the novelty of the intervention.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.Psych.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.Psych.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools


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