The Compass Centre is an allocated room based in Key Stage 1 for children who have been identified as having additional social, emotional or behavioural needs.

The Nurture Group has been a committed base which offers support to individuals since 2007.

Children who attend have the opportunity to build and sustain relationships with staff and other children within the group. Compass Centre staff offer a predictable, dependable and secure environment. This nurturing setting helps children to build self-esteem and become more confident and independent.

The long-term aim of the Compass Centre is to offer the skills needed for individuals to successfully return to their mainstream class.

Who attends the Compass Centre?

The Compass Centre offers places to children in Key Stage 1 and Foundation stage. The group size can depend greatly on the need of individuals and varies between 6 – 10 per group. Currently Key stage 1 and Foundation stage children share the sessions.

Sessions can last from 2 - 4 terms and after this children are reintegrated back into their mainstream class, one afternoon at a time.  This process depends on the child’s individual needs and is done sensitively through discussions with parents/class teacher and support staff within school.

Once reintegration has been successful a leaving party is organised and this is seen as a considerable achievement by staff/parents and children.

How are children selected?

Compass Centre staff spend a large part of the summer term in nursery to meet children that will be integrating into reception classes in the autumn term. During the first part of the autumn term, nurture group staff attend forest school, open door and child-initiated sessions. This allows nurture group staff to see whole classes in different settings and gain further understanding and knowledge about individual children. Once children are settled in class their teacher completes a “strength and difficulty questionnaire” on every child within their class. It is from the questionnaires that a comprehensive assessment is completed on a small number of pupils. Careful consideration, time and effort are a priority when selecting groups as this will ensure the greatest outcome for individual children. 

How are children taught?

Compass Centre staff follow the curriculum very closely. Activities are short and focus on the social and emotional needs of individuals and the requirements of the group.  Compass Centre staff plan work that is meaningful and stage appropriate. This enables individuals to feel confident and engage fully with the learning process in the Nurture Group and their mainstream class.


Year 1 children practicing their speaking and listening skills. Eventually, the art of speaking and listening will become second nature!

Role play, outside learning and having fun is our recipe for enjoyment and success!

Snack time

In order to teach social skills, turn taking and sharing, the children prepare and eat snack together during each session.  Considerable emphasis is placed on communication skills and the development of language.
How is progress monitored?
Boxall profile

The Boxall profile is an assessment tool used within the Nurture Group to assess progression of individual children. Class teachers and Compass Centre staff aim to complete the profiles each term as this can clearly show movement or decline in behaviour, social or emotional development.

Long observations

Staff within the Compass Centre observe children usually through child initiated play with very little adult intervention. These lengthy observations are completed each term. Individual targets are set from the observation as this can often be a clear indicator of strengths and difficulties for children.

Weekly observations

Staff within the Compass Centre monitor progression and individuals achieving their target, by completing weekly observations. Shorter observations are completed as this shows movement or where additional support maybe needed.

Beyond the Compass Centre

Individual targets for children are always shared with teachers and displayed within their mainstream class. Children are encouraged and supported by the adults to achieve their target in class.

How do targets help?

Most of the work that happens within the Compass Centre are set from observations and assessments. These are clearly displayed within the Compass Centre and individuals are encouraged to achieve these during each session.  Children within the group are extremely responsive and positive about this as they are nominated by their peers or staff daily for achieving their target. Each child receives a coin and once their target sheet is filled they are rewarded for their efforts.

The “I can” display board reinforces positive qualities both individually and collectively. Targets are achievable and focus on personal barriers to learning.

Impact on children, families and school.

  • Fundamental and beneficial element in school that supports pupils with social, emotional and behavioural development
  • Children gain the required skills to engage fully within their mainstream class and access learning to the best of their ability
  • Parents, class teachers and support staff can see measurable progression with social and emotional skills that has a positive impact on individual learning                  

What we have to say: 

“Helps me to be good"

"Nurture is fantastic"

"I like it when Mrs Hellowell and Mrs Briscoe help me to play games"

"I like playing games"

"It makes me happy"

“The impact of this nurturing approach at such an early stage of their school life has a dramatic impact on future progress and potential development. This includes concentration, self-esteem, behaviour (self-control) and engagement in the wider curriculum offered in all parts of school.” L. Hullin- Foundation stage manager.