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Title: An exploration of mainstream school teachers' and teaching assistants' perceptions of special school outreach services, including the perceived impact on their practice, on target pupils and the wider school context
Author: Edmanson, A. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 0555
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2012
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This study focuses on an Outreach Service provided by special schools to mainstream schools where there is concern regarding a pupil with SEN. Despite special schools providing outreach services for many years, there is little current research about the type of services that are provided to schools and their impact. Studies that exist are focused on the impact of outreach at an individual level whereas Sheppard (2000) concluded an ecological approach should be adopted by outreach services. The present study employed an exploratory, sequential, mixed methods design. Through interviews, the qualitative phase explored two teachers' and seven teaching assistants' (TA) (n=9) perceptions of the process and impact of the outreach support they received and the data was analysed using thematic analysis. The themes were used to develop a questionnaire to explore if the themes were corroborated by 18 questionnaire participants (n=18). TAs were found to be the primary recipients of the outreach support. It was found that outreach created a supportive working relationship with the TA that provided reassurance, confidence and problem solving when challenges occurred. The impact on the pupil was perceived as positive as teachers/TAs reported increases m pupils' confidence, communication, understanding and curriculum access through the use of resources, differentiation and strategies introduced by Outreach. Staff involved in Outreach, mostly TAs, perceived outreach to increase their confidence, knowledge and ability to put things into practice. There was, however, a more limited occurrence of outreach involvement having a wider impact on a school system. The findings are presented using Bronfenbrenner's eco-systemic model and interpretations draw on systems theory. A key finding relates to the positive impact of outreach on the individual TA and pupil, however there was a lack of an ecological approach and the potential role of outreach in promoting this is discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available