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Title: How do Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) view their role in building relationships with parents of learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)?
Author: Heath, Jenna
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 0277
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2017
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The way parents interact with their children at home has been found to be a key influencing factor related to children’s achievement at school (Fan & Chen, 2001, Desforges & Abouchaar, 2003). Schools act as an excellent resource to help parents learn how to support their children educationally at home (Epstein & Sheldon, 2006). There are some groups of parents who find accessing the school resource difficult (Harris & Goodall 2007, Sime & Sheridan 2014). It is has been outlined that it is the school’s responsibility to reach out to vulnerable groups of parents and this includes those parents of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) (Crozier & Davies, 2007; Harris & Goodall, 2007; Harris et al., 2007, Lamb, 2009, SEND CoP, 2015). In school systems, the role of the SENCo is to support children with SEND (SEND CoP, 2015) and a key part of that role is working with parents. There is a lack of research exploring how the SENCo acts as a vital link between the home and school. None have used psychological frameworks to explore this phenomenon. This research aims to explore the experience of SENCos in building relationships with parents. This study focuses on five primary SENCos and their experiences of building relationships with parents. The research uses a qualitative design to explore SENCo’s experiences. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse SENCo experiences. Two main superordinate themes emerged from the data. SENCos described Reciprocal understanding as a key superordinate theme in building relationships with parents. This included the subordinate themes Subjects and direction of understanding, and Underlying elements of understanding. The other superordinate theme which emerged from the data was Processes involved in relationships. This included the subordinate themes Communication Opportunities and Skilled communication using techniques from Solution Orientated Approaches (SOAs). These themes related to frameworks from social psychology. The implications for Educational Psychologists and SENCos are discussed in terms of possible training opportunities for SENCos.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Prof.) Qualification Level: Doctoral