Vision for hub to keep excluded Norfolk children in the classroom launched
Copyright: Archant 2018
A vision for a new hub which hopes to give schools the tools to cut permanent exclusions has been launched in Norwich.
The Nurture Group Network (NGN) took the first steps towards opening its Norwich Nurture Hub, based at the Turner Road Centre, on Friday.
The initiative will see schools sign up to packages of ongoing support from the hub, which, the team hopes, will see Norfolk’s high rate of permanent exclusions brought down.
If crisis support is needed, schools will be able to refer pupils on for sessions, in the hope they can be quickly moved back to classes.
On Friday, dignitaries and members of the community attended a launch event at the site, which is shared with Wensum Junior School.
Jeni Barnacle, hub director and a former headteacher, said: “The thing that really struck all of us in the team was that everyone who came along really understood the vision and what we are trying to achieve.
“It was really positive, and the start of other things we are planning.”
Visitors included the High Sheriff of Norfolk James Bagge, as well as representatives from the local Asda and Tesco.
The NGN estimates that it will cost almost £250,000 to revamp the site as required, including £14,000 to make sure outside entrances have disabled access and £25,000 to upgrade and reorganise the toilets.
To make the project a reality, the NGN is appealing for volunteers to help with fundraising, work on the committee, provide donations of toys and books and raise awareness of the hub.
Mrs Barnacle said the goal of the project was to cut the level of permanent exclusions in Norfolk by 50pc by the end of its three-year pilot project.
She added that the overall goal was to “keep children in the classroom”.
Permanent exclusions have been an ongoing issue in Norfolk over the last few years, with rates higher than the regional and national average.
In 2017, the county recorded the second highest permanent exclusion rate in the UK, according to government figures.