Charity’s plans to launch nurture hub in Norwich to cut permanent exclusions

The Turner Road Centre in Norwich. Picture: Google Maps

The Turner Road Centre in Norwich. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A national charity has revealed plans to launch a nurture hub in Norwich to cut the number of permanent exclusions.

The Nurture Group Network (NGN) will run the Norwich Nurture Hub, which hopes to promote an inclusive ethos through strong links with schools.

It will be based at the Turner Road Centre, on a site shared with Wensum Junior School and owned by the Evolution Academy Trust.

Schools will sign up to a package of ongoing support from the hub, which is the first the NGN has created.

Where crisis support is needed, schools can refer pupils onto five half-day sessions a week at the Turner Road Centre, with the aim that they are transitioned back into their mainstream class completely within two to four terms.

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Jeni Barnacle will be the hub director, and has worked in local education for many years.

She said: 'This is about making a difference to children. Having been a head and having been a teacher in Norfolk, we want to work on the challenges we know everyone is facing.'

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She said they had worked closely with local schools, special educational needs coordinators and the Mattishall-based Viscount Nelson Education Network.

'The feedback so far has been very positive,' she said. 'It's about a holistic approach. Nurture is not soft and fluffy - one of the definitions is nourish, educate and train.'

The NGN is hoping to secure £250,000 from investors to cover initial start-up costs of the hub.

In its literature, it says it hopes to reduce the number of permanent exclusions by 50pc in its first three years, and has a goal of 'zero exclusions' for the pupils it works with.

It estimates that 60 children will directly benefit from nurture group provision within the hub.

The NGN currently runs nurture groups in early years, primary and secondary settings across the country.

Permanent exclusions have become a particular issue in Norfolk, with numbers in recent years higher than regional or national averages.

In October, provisional figures showed that 266 pupils were excluded in 2016/17 school year.

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