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Applegrove Primary School has been awarded a National Nurturing Schools Award from the Nurture UK charity


By Garry McCartney

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A LOCAL school has won an award for for the “nurturing culture” staff have created for their pupils.

Applegrove Primary School has received a National Nurturing Schools Award following assessment by the Nurture UK charity against a set of standards outlined during a programme covering stakeholders, delivery, leadership and management.

Head teacher Mrs Heather Murray and teacher Miss Erin Fraser.Picture: Beth Taylor
Head teacher Mrs Heather Murray and teacher Miss Erin Fraser.Picture: Beth Taylor

Head teacher Mrs Heather Murray and class teacher Miss Erin Fraser led the staff into the programme in 2020.

Mrs Murray, said: “We wanted to foster a caring culture at Applegrove so we’re so excited to receive this award. It shows the hard work of our whole school community.”

The pair initially completed training online during covid, sharing instruction with the rest of the staff, ensuring everyone knew how to support the pupils as instructed.

Mrs Murray said: “Having started at the school in December 2019, then going into lockdown, I realised it was something that would have a positive impact.

“I signed up just as we were returning from lockdown two. It was important for us to understand some of the challenges that the young people were facing, and to have an appropriate response.”

The staff learned that all behaviour is communication and that coaching and zones of regulation help young people understand their emotions.

Teacher Miss Erin Fraser, head teacher Mrs Heather Murray and the school’s pupil council.Picture by Beth Taylor
Teacher Miss Erin Fraser, head teacher Mrs Heather Murray and the school’s pupil council.Picture by Beth Taylor

Mrs Murray ensures there is a now a consistent approach across the school.

She said: “What we are doing is in line with Moray’s Supporting all Learners Strategy. It’s great for staff to see how joined up it is.”

Over the past two years, the school has seen significant improvements in the social, emotional, and behavioural needs of the pupils.

Every classroom at Applegrove now provides a nurturing environment - pupils are better able to talk about their emotions and use zones of regulation effectively. Staff will help children who are less able.

Mrs Murray said: “The school day begins with a soft start to allow for a welcome and individual greetings for each pupil.

“All classrooms now have a worry monster and a safe space, as well as a visual timetable detailing the events of the day.“

She added: “Our nurturing environment helps every child feel valued and supported - important for their growth and happiness.

"The nurturing approach has made Applegrove a more supportive and inclusive place overall.”

Miss Fraser, finished: “Working together with our students and their families has been a wonderful experience. Seeing the positive changes in our students’ wellbeing and behaviour is incredibly rewarding.”



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