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Title: Investigating the impact of a whole school intervention on children's executive function and attention skills
Author: Hedges, Katherine Mary
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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Educational Psychologists (EPs) are often asked to see children that may have difficulties with attention or children with impairments in executive function. Research suggests that there is a link between attention and executive function. There is research evidence linking Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with executive function difficulties. It is proposed that there will be a link between primary school children’s attention and executive function skills as measured by standardised assessment. The present study involved assessing 31 participants on subtests of the Test of Everyday Attention in Children (TEA-Ch) (to gain a measure of attention) and the Neuropsychological Assessment (Second Edition) (NEPSY-II) (to gain a measure of executive function).Participants were aged between 6;01 and 10;08 (mean 8;06) when they were assessed at the pre-intervention stage. Participants were all from one primary school in the North West of England. Significant correlations between participants’ performance on the TEA-Ch and NEPSY-II were found. There is some research evidence that executive function interventions can improve children’s executive functions, but this is at the individual case level. There were no studies identified that looked at whole school executive function interventions. Executive function staff training was developed and delivered to teachers and teaching assistants in the primary school. A supporting pack of written materials was produced to help staff. Evaluation questionnaires and staff interviews identified useful aspects of the training. It is proposed that the consultation model of training delivery was particularly important. Staff interviews indicated that interventions had been carried out at the whole school and class level. Participants were reassessed at the post-intervention stage using the TEA-Ch and the NEPSY-II. Results indicated significant improvements in both attention and executive function skills for participants overall. Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests identified that there were significant increases in participants’ mean TEA-Ch and mean NEPSY scores following the whole school intervention. The results suggest the intervention may have been most successful in improving children’s selective attention, response inhibition, flexibility and task initiation skills.
Supervisor: Woods, Kevin Sponsor: CWDC
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Chi.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Executive Function ; Attention ; Whole School Intervention ; Staff Training ; Primary school children