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Title: 'A little pebble in a pond' : a multiple case study exploring how the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) project operates in secondary schools
Author: Nicholson-Roberts, Bryony-Rose
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 0084
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This research utilised a qualitative approach to explore how the Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) project operates in secondary schools, and the facilitating factors and challenges relevant to its implementation in these settings. There is a dearth in research relating to the ELSA project in secondary schools and so this research offers useful insight for those involved in the implementation of secondary school ELSA projects, including EPs. A multiple case study design and semi-structured interviews were utilised in two secondary school cases from one South England Local Authority. Interviews were conducted with seven key secondary school ELSA stakeholders from each school, including ELSAs, Special Educational Needs Coordinators, pupils, and school staff. Thematic analysis of both schools' data was completed, before a cross-case thematic analysis enabled comparison and contrasts to be identified between the two schools' ELSA projects. Findings indicated that: ELSA work was embedded alongside other Social, Emotional, and Mental Health (SEMH) interventions; ELSAs applied a range of psychological principles in their work, including attachment and containment principles; pupils' intervention length was longer in secondary school ELSA projects than ELSA guidance outlined. Facilitating factors reported by participants included: ELSAs' unique qualities; ELSA-pupil relationships; flexibility within the intervention enabling a pupil-centred approach; and the support and supervision that ELSAs receive from SENCOs and EPs. Challenges affecting the implementation of ELSA projects in secondary schools, identified by the participants, included: difficulty developing whole-school understanding of pupils' SEMH needs; limited ELSA-teacher and ELSA-parent communication; difficult emotional effects on ELSAs; and negative effects for pupils, including the risk of pupil dependency on ELSA. The findings from this research contribute to a better understanding of how ELSA projects operate in secondary schools and has implications for improving the implementation of ELSA projects within secondary school settings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available