On Thursday 9th February, local MSP Ruth Maguire spoke in a Holyrood debate in advance of Barnardo’s Nurture Week, which runs from 13th to 19th February. The week will see a series of events and activities aimed at showcasing the importance of nurture and attachment in child development.

Nurture groups are focused on helping children, particuarly those facing challenges, to develop emotional and mental resilience, and have also been demonstrated to help raise attainment.

Speaking in the debate, Ruth said:

‘I recently had the pleasure of visiting Blacklands Primary and Kilwinng Academy in my own constituency, and seen for myself the positive and tangible affects of nurture groups on attainment and inclusion.

Nurturing emotionally healthy and resilient children paves the way for future generations of healthy and resilient adults – they are skills for life.

Not only is this of immeasurable benefit to the individual, leading to healthier and happier lives, but it is of benefit to all of us, with evidence suggesting that nurture groups can work to reduce crime and health problems in wider society.

And at the immediate school level, the positive impact that nuture groups have on attainment, and thus closing the attainment gap, cannot be overstated.

I am very pleased that Scotland has the best ratio of nurture groups to schools in the UK, at 1: 8.3, and that the majority of local authority funded nurture groups in the UK are in Scotland, and hope to see them continue to grow.’