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Title: A realistic evaluation of the use of group consultation to deliver educational psychology services
Author: Chadwick, J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 3654
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2014
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The central aim of this thesis is to examine whether group consultation is an effective way for Educational Psychologists (EPs) to deliver their services to Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCos). To contribute towards current understandings of this issue, I interviewed SENCos and EPs who had been involved in Additional Needs Partnerships (ANPs). ANPs involved EPs facilitating solution-focused consultations with groups of SENCos. EP work within ANP schools was allocated via the ANP meetings. I aimed to identify positive and negative outcomes of the ANPs, and how and why the ANPs produced these outcomes. The purpose of this was to answer the research questions do ANPs deliver effective service delivery, and if so, when, why and how? And are there ways in which the ANPs could be improved? I hoped that my findings would provide a unique contribution to EP practice knowledge. I chose to conduct a piece of qualitative research as this provided the opportunity to explore participants' experiences of the ANPs. I adopted a realistic evaluation framework as my methodological approach. This enabled me to analyse how the ANPs worked, rather than focussing solely upon outcomes of the ANPs. Findings appeared to suggest that the ANPs enabled SENCos to feel supported, gain new perspectives, understandings and ideas, develop professional skills and to feel that they were meeting children's needs and working effectively with parents. The structured group discussion, meeting preparation, follow-up and EP contributions helped bring about these positive outcomes. If the group included professionals with a range of expertise and experience, who trusted and supported one another, this was also conducive to effective ANP working. Participants reported several limitations to the ANPs. During initial meetings, some SENCos were unacquainted, the process was unclear and EP follow-up work did not always occur. The discussion at some ANP meetings was limited due to time constraints or low SENCo confidence or commitment. The findings suggest that clear contracting between group members should occur before group consultations commence, and as an on-going process. One avenue for future research could be to obtain parental/carers' views of the ANPs and to collect information regarding outcomes for children within ANP schools.
Supervisor: Billington, T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.C.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available