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Title: An evaluation into how the introduction of Secondary SEAL has impacted upon school climate & pupils' emotional literacy and resiliency levels
Author: Snape, Mark Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 9539
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2011
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This research paper forms the first half of this thesis exploring how the introduction of Secondary SEAL (SSEAL) has impacted on pupils’ emotional literacy and resiliency levels (as measured by the NfER Emotional Literacy Questionnaire and the Resiliency Scales For Children and Adolescents – A profile of personal strengths (RSCA) Questionnaire). The aim of Paper 1 is to explore whether the SSEAL programme is associated with relevant pupil skills, to show resilience with a difficult situation; be more in tune with their emotions and the emotions of those around them. The research questions for paper 1 were: Question 1: What are the associations between the introduction of SSEAL into a secondary school and Year 8 pupils' emotional literacy levels? Question 2: What are the associations between the introduction of SSEAL into a secondary school and Year 8 pupils' resilience levels? Question 3: How has the introduction of SEAL had an impact on pupils’ emotional literacy and resiliency levels since the introduction of SEAL into the school? Question 4: To what extent are there any gender differences from students’ responses on the emotional literacy and resiliency questionnaires? This paper adopted a pragmatic epistemological stance and used a mixed methods design, where quantitative data was gathered from teachers and Year 8 pupils using both the NfER Emotional Literacy Questionnaire and the Resiliency Scales for Children and Adolescents: A Profile of Personal Strengths Questionnaire. The quantitative data was triangulated with the semi-­‐structured interviews from Paper 2 to inform the results of research question 3. The sample was derived from three secondary schools in the East Midlands. There were 64 pupils (31 males and 33 females) and three form tutors who completed the questionnaires. The qualitative data was gained from 6 teachers from the three secondary schools in the East Midlands using a semi-­‐structured interview. The results gained from paper 1 found that there was not a significant result for pupils’ emotional literacy scores between 2009 and 2010 for schools X, Y and Z. There was a significant ANOVA result for the teacher’s version of the emotional literacy questionnaire. The results gained from the resiliency scores showed that School Y had a significant result for pupils’ resourcefulness scores and School Z had a significant result for pupils’ vulnerability scores. The ANOVA results showed that there was a significant result for both resourcefulness and vulnerability from the results gained in 2011. The correlational data for school X, Y and Z found an association between pupils’ emotional literacy and resilience scores. The data indicated that males scored lower on the emotional literacy and resiliency questionnaires to females. A significant result was found for male scores on the Vulnerability questionnaire between 2010-­‐2011 and there was a significant difference between males and females on the vulnerability questionnaire. In conclusion, it can be suggested that SEAL had not significantly had an impact on pupils’ emotional literacy, but had impacted on pupils’ resilience scores. Moreover, the qualitative data indicated that SEAL has made pupils more aware of their social and emotional needs and the emotional needs of others. Moreover, the results indicate that staff had become more aware of the social and emotional needs of their pupils. However, it can be concluded that the introduction of SEAL has not necessarily increased pupils’ emotional literacy or resilience and other factors including, the Key Stage Three curriculum and the pastoral system has had an impact on these. From these results, the role of the EP could be to support schools in applying appropriate social and emotional assessment tools and interventions and support staff to recognise a pupil with high/low emotional literacy and resilience and the most appropriate way to support these. The aim of Paper 2 was to focus on the processes involved within a secondary school when introducing SEAL and whether SEAL had an impact on school climate as perceived by school staff. The research questions for this study were: Question 1: How has SEAL been implemented into the school’s curriculum and pastoral system? Question 2: What are staff perceptions of school climate since the introduction of SEAL? Question 3: What are the most effective sources of analysis to explore how effectively SEAL has been introduced into a secondary school (including OFSTED reports, Questionnaires and semi-­‐structured interviews) and its impact on school climate? A pragmatic epistemological approach was adopted for this research study where a mixed design was implemented. Semi-­‐structured interviews were carried out with six teachers, (two members of staff from the three secondary schools). A school climate questionnaire (OCDQ-­‐RM) was administered to 42 teaching staff. The results from both the semi-­‐structured interviews and the OCDQ-­‐RM questionnaire were triangulated. A thematic analysis was completed on the semi-­‐structured interviews adopting Braun & Clarke’s (2003) model. The results indicate that the three schools implemented SEAL into their curriculum quite differently. School X implemented SEAL into all subjects using their curriculum competencies; School Y introduced SEAL into their creative arts curriculum and School Z introduced it into their Humanities and English curriculum. Each school introduced SEAL into their pastoral system in different ways – School X had an activity week, which involved the local community and completed CASE during tutor times and had SEAL-­‐type themes in assemblies. School Y explicitly taught two of the SEAL units per term through the PSHE curriculum, and during tutor time and as part of the assemblies the students engaged in ‘Thought of the week’. Students were involved in an activity day about ‘Being Healthy’. The school had training staff to use Circle of Friends with students. School Z used SEAL type themes as part of their Global-­‐Eye and Thinking Through Schools Programme, which were delivered during assemblies and in tutor time. The school had also trained Teaching Assistants to use the Circle of Friends programme with pupils. The results gained from the OCDQ-­‐RM indicate that school Z had a closed climate, school X had an engaged climate and school Y had an open climate. The conclusions from this study suggest that SEAL had not improved school climate (as perceived by school staff) although it had made staff more aware of what school climate is and had improved relationships between students and staff. Finally, the role of the educational psychologist is important when supporting a school when implementing a whole school social and emotional learning programme and when staff perceive the school climate as being Closed or Disengaged.
Supervisor: Maxwell, Tim ; Richards, Andrew Sponsor: Children's Workforce Development Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Emotional Literacy, Resilience, SEAL ; Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; School Climate