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Title: Evaluating the impact of a school-based intervention on the socio-emotional well-being and school performance of pupils in early secondary education
Author: Jayman, Michelle
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 4738
Awarding Body: University of West London
Current Institution: University of West London
Date of Award: 2017
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Psychological distress in children and adolescents is increasing and, despite the growing number in need, many are not able to access appropriate and timely support (Thorley, 2016). Schools have great potential for meeting pupils’ emerging mental health needs and can play a central role in the transformation of services; effective, early intervention programmes can improve pupils’ socio-emotional well-being and educational outcomes (e.g. Bonell et al., 2014; Greenberg, 2010). There is a demand for evidence-based models of good practice to improve schools’ existing support and provision (Department of Health (DH), 2013; 2015). The three studies in this thesis describe an ecologically valid evaluation of the Pyramid socio-emotional intervention (aimed at shy, withdrawn or socially isolated pupils) through its impact on socio-emotional well-being and school performance. While previous research (e.g. Cassidy, McLaughlin, & Giles, 2014; Ohl, Fox, & Mitchell, 2012) examined Pyramid’s effectiveness with primary-aged children, this research looked at the impact on pupils in early secondary school (11- to 14-years). A mixed methods design was implemented within a critical realist framework to examine intervention effectiveness and procedures and mechanisms underlying behaviour change. Pyramid pupils were matched with a non-intervention comparison group on age, gender, socio-economic status, and English and Mathematics levels. Socio-emotional well-being was measured using objective and subjective measures which included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ: Goodman, 1997; Goodman, Meltzer, & Bailey, 1998) and the Well-Being Questionnaire (WBQ: New Philanthropy Capital, 2010) at pre- and post-intervention. Subject ability self-concepts and current academic levels (English and Mathematics) were used as subjective and objective measures of school performance respectively at pre- and post-intervention. At 12-month follow-up the objective measures were used to re-examine the dual domains of interest. The perceptions and experiences of Pyramid service users and club leaders were collected through focus groups and thematically analysed. A distinct trajectory of change for the Pyramid group compared to comparison group peers was identified: intervention recipients demonstrated significant improvements in targeted aspects of socio-emotional well-being at short- and longer-term follow-up, showing large effects, and supporting previous conclusions from primary school evaluations. Pupils’ school performance findings indicated that Pyramid had a ‘buffer effect’ on the typical academic ‘dip’ characteristic of this developmental period. Qualitative findings provided confirmatory evidence for Pyramid’s effectiveness and an understanding of procedures and mechanisms underlying behaviour change. Collectively, these new findings have important implications for theory, practice and future evaluation research which are considered in this thesis. The thesis concludes with a proposal for a five-part Pyramid model that is integrated with Health Promoting School (HPS) strategies to support pupils’ socio-emotional well-being, generating ‘real world’ impact on children and young people’s lives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education ; Teaching and learning ; Social sciences