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Title: The interpretation and use of SEAL in primary schools
Author: Wood, Peter
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2012
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Initially introduced in June 2005 by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the 'Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning' (SEAL) initiative is a curriculum based resource with the aim of 'developing all children's social, emotional and behavioural skills' (DfES 2005, p.6). At present, much of the research regarding SEAL has overlooked how all the staff members within the 'whole school' understand and make use of the scheme. Drawing on concepts of emotional intelligence, school culture, staff member role and identity, and the notion of a whole-school approach, this thesis explores how primary schools and the staff members within them interpret and use SEAL. A three phase empirical study, comprising of questionnaires, focus groups and semistructured interviews was employed to aid this task. The questionnaire, completed by 402 staff members from 38 primary schools, examined how the scheme was being interpreted and used across the town. Issues relating to staff members' perceptions of the motivations for using SEAL, its purpose, how the school and individual staff members used the scheme, and how it was appraised, were explored using focus groups and individual interviews with staff members at four case study primary schools. The findings suggest that the interpretation and practice of SEAL is situated within each staff member's individual role, and within each school's individual culture. It was discovered that management/teaching staff and non-teaching staff held differing opinions in relation to the scheme, and a number of variables were identified as causes of this disparity. Additionally, it is argued that each school's individual needs, shaped by the perceived inadequacies taking place in the home and amongst the pupils' parents, influenced how SEAL was utilised and, as such, the interpretation and use of the scheme varied between schools. The implications of the study's findings for schools, policy and future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available