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The underpinning theory and science 

Thrive has been developed over the past 25 years, with its architects drawing from a wealth of experience in social work, psychotherapy and education.  Thrive is a social and emotional development model that looks at children's needs and provides responses and activities to engage them with life and learning.  The practice involves the following concepts:

  • All behaviour is a form of communication. 

  • What are children trying to tell us? 

  • We need ‘the other side of the story’ 

The benefits of Thrive 

Thrive provides those who work with children and young people the knowledge, skills and tools to optimise social and emotional development, focusing on the relationship with the child.  Thrive is a dynamic, developmental approach to working with children and young people that helps other children and adults to interpret their behaviour and address their emotional needs. Schools who have introduced Thrive report fewer exclusions, reduced classroom disruptions, improved attendance and better educational attainment. 

Talbot House School and Thrive 

Thrive was first introduced to Talbot House School in 2017.  Initially, Thrive strategies were deployed in one to one sessions with individual pupils.  Following the pupil assessments, qualified Thrive practitioners used the targets and strategies generated by the Thrive system to tailor one to one sessions specifically for each pupil’s need.  Theses sessions allowed for the most targeted intervention to be implemented with the pupils.  In the terms that followed, all staff have received regular training on the Thrive approach during continuous professional development (CPD) sessions. Staff are trained on what the Thrive approach is, why it is used and how it benefits pupils.  Thrive is now established across the whole school.  Staff are taught the importance of using the ‘Thrive talk’ throughout all lessons and in using the Vital Relational Functions (VRF’s):

Attune with a pupil

Validate their feelings

Contain their emotions 

Soothe them  

Our staff also understand the importance of using PACE in their interactions with pupils.– being Playful, Accepting, Curious and Empathic. We ask our team to remember these key points, in every engagement with our children:

  • All behaviour is telling us something. 

  • The adult/child relationship is key. 

  • VRFs used repeatedly build resilience in the child.  They teach them to Feel, Stop, Think, Choose, Behave. 

  • Compassion and empathy need to be experienced before they can be developed. 


Thrive has also been introduced across the whole school into groups.  House group staff in the Upper school and Learning Groups in Primary took responsibility for assessing their groups and planning weekly activities to meet the targets generated by their groups’ assessment.  Thrive is now being used more holistically across the school.  Together we are working to improve pupils’ belief in themselves, improve their behaviour and help build their emotional resilience. 


It is the aim that in weaving the Thrive Approach in everything we do, pupils will:

  • Feel good about themselves 

  • Know that they matter 

  • Feel safe

  • Become more resilient and resourceful 

  • Have a positive attitude 

  • Form trusting, rewarding relationships 

  • Be creative 

  • Be compassionate and empathic 

  • Be thoughtful and self-aware 

  • Be productive 

  • Be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks  

Pupils take the time to ‘Just Be’ in their one to one session – Be safe, Be them. Thus, helping them to feel safe and special, and meeting their needs.  

For more information, you can access the Thrive Approach website from the link below;