Our History

Four professionals with a wealth of experience in education, social work and psychotherapy came together in the early 1990s to try and understand the increasing number of exclusions of ever younger children from schools.

Combining their collective knowledge, Thrive's founders developed a social and emotional development model that looks at a young person's needs and provides responses and activities to engage them.

At the core of this model is the relationship between the young person and the adult, and how the adult can create a safe relationship in which the young person can thrive.

Thrive began life in 1994 when Jan Banks, a social worker, Roe Lovelock, an educational psychologist, Julia Bird, an educationalist, and Lynne Gerlack, an Ofsted inspector (quality assurance of learning and education settings), came together to unpick the challenging behaviour of children and young people that each had observed in their professional lives.

Combining their collective knowledge, they developed a social and emotional development model that looked at children’s needs and provided responses and activities to re-engage them in education and life.


A training course was trialled in London where this model was passed on to personal, social and health education teachers.

Using feedback from participants, an assessment tool was devised to measure children’s social and emotional development in CD-Rom format. With this in place, Fronting the Challenge Ltd was officially launched.


Five years later, having moved to Devon, the business continued to grow.

The team started working with The Modbury Group, a web design agency, and expanded the courses on offer as well as relaunching the core training and assessment model as ENABLE – Emotional Needs, Achieving, Behaviour and Learning in Education.


ENABLE becomes Thrive

Having developed an online version of the assessment tool, ENABLE was relaunched as Thrive and a pilot project with Devon County Council resulted in compelling evidence of the benefits of Thrive – there were fewer exclusions, less disruptions in class, fewer demands for special educational needs and disability statementing as well as improved attendance and higher attainment. This led to further trials in Rotherham, Barnsley, Bath and Bristol in the UK.


Strategic marketing specialist Diana Dewing was recruited as Thrive’s first managing director in order to establish a sustainable business model.

At this point some 10,000 children had access to Thrive including those in maintained and private schools, early years settings, pupil referral units, children’s homes and special schools.


Thrive expanded its offering beyond the school gates, with Family Thrive sessions launched for parents and carers.

In the same year, a new course was developed for senior leaders to help them embed Thrive in their schools.


Thrive Approach starts its journey in Australia, presenting at the International Childhood Trauma conference in Melbourne.


With advances in technology, Thrive developed a blended learning training course and a new e-learning platform which give participants the benefit of less time out of their setting and more rapid impact.

Thrive has also expanded internationally with the launch of Thrive Australia. Thrive for Senior Leaders and Thrive Licensed Practitioner courses commenced in Brisbane Australia and Thrive Approach Australia along with Gumdale State School presented at Brisbane's Trauma Informed Schooling conference demonstrating the impact Thrive has achived in launching in Australia education settings.

Thrive is now more focused than ever on its mission to support children’s emotional and social development so that they can thrive in all areas of their lives.


Thrive continues to grow rapidly and is now more focused than ever on its commitment to supporting children's emotional and social development so they can thrive in all areas of their lives. Thrive has made some big changes to how we deliver our services in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and we have worked tirelessly to reshape our Practitioner, Senior Leaders and Family Thrive courses so they are delivered via interactive webinars and e-learmning for the remainder of 2020 and likely until the end of 2021.

Contact our team