An Exploration of Designated Teachers’ Perceptions of the Role of Educational Psychologists in Supporting Looked After Children

PhD Thesis

Whitehouse, Coleen 2014. An Exploration of Designated Teachers’ Perceptions of the Role of Educational Psychologists in Supporting Looked After Children. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsWhitehouse, Coleen
TypePhD Thesis

The present study aims to explore Designated Teachers’ (DTs) perceptions of the contribution that Educational Psychologists (EPs) make towards supporting Looked After Children (LAC). The aim of this research is to gain insight into how teachers consider EPs can best support LAC at the individual, school and multiagency level. The present study explores this topic by adopting a critical realist perspective and employing a two phase, sequential mixed methods design. A preliminary quantitative data collection phase was employed followed by a principal qualitative data collection phase. In phase one data was collected using a self- administered questionnaire, designed for the purpose of the current study. The quantitative data was analysed via descriptive statistics (using percentages). In phase two, data was collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. The findings demonstrate that DTs recognised the knowledge of EPs and placed some value in their practice and the way in which they work. DTs highlighted several limitations when working with EPs to support LAC. Their comments indicated a misunderstanding or differing expectations between schools and EPs in relation to how EPs work and the work DTs require. DTs explained that they generally call on EPs when they have concerns regarding children’s learning and they tend to think of other services in order to address concerns surrounding children’s wider social, emotional and behavioural needs. In the future, DTs would like to see greater access to EPs, including regular input for LAC over time, having a link EP to their school and greater input on a face to face basis as well as on an informal basis. DTs also perceived EPs to be well placed to help them address some of the challenges they encounter when working with LAC: having a greater understanding of what EPs do and how they can support LAC, training on the general needs of LAC and how to work effectively with the multiple agencies involved with LAC. The current study identifies factors which may help to improve EPs understanding of how schools perceive their role in supporting one of the most vulnerable pupil groups.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Dec 2014
Publisher's version
Permalink -

Download files

  • 193
    total views
  • 292
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 2
    downloads this month

Export as