The history of Thrive

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 recognition of the significance of positive relationships and the impact connection can have on children and young people’s emotional health and future wellbeing.

Thrive began life when Jan Banks, a psychotherapist, Roe Lovelock, a social work trainer, Julia Bird, a Gestalt psychotherapist and educationalist, and Lynne Tarrab-Snooks an integrative psychotherapist and educationalist, came together to unpick the challenging behaviour of children and young people that each had observed in their professional lives. They believed that some of the problematic behaviours displayed by children were a means of communicating need. Combining their collective knowledge and extending a model of children's social and emotional development based on the work of Jean Illsley Clarke, the founders defined key developmental needs and provided responses and activities to help strengthen children and young people's engagement in learning and life.


Fronting the Challenge (FTC) was formed and the business was registered with Companies House. An assessment tool was devised to measure children’s social and emotional development in CD-Rom format. A full training programme, assessment software and practical responses were now in place, establishing FTC as a leader in its field.


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.


The ENABLE online assessment programme became available to support teachers, with the recording of children’s social and emotional needs in the classroom and the provision of strategies to facilitate access to learning. Schools, behavioural units and local authorities requested training and supervision.


ENABLE was relaunched as Thrive. The new name fitted more closely with the ethos and aims of the company


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.


Having undergone exponential growth, the number of children with access to Thrive rose from approximately 10,000 in 2011 to more than 350,000. Thrive expanded its offering beyond the school gates, with Family Thrive sessions launched for parents and carers as well as the development of the Thrive Action Plan App and an e-learning platform.


With advances in technology, Thrive developed a blended learning training course as well as expanding internationally with the launch of Thrive Australia.


In response to the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, Thrive transformed it's course delivery to live, interactive virtual training using the latest technology and complemented with e-mentoring for all delegates. The team reached out to all practitioners to help them continue with their Thrive practice even during the periods when schools and settings were closed, in line with the latest Government guidance.


Thrive continues to grow rapidly and is now in over 2,300 schools and settings with over 530,000 children and young people registered on Thrive-Online. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the team is more focused than ever on its commitment to support young people’s emotional and social development so that they can thrive in all areas of their lives.

Contact our team