This study is in part a response to the introduction of Every Child Matters, the
incorporated Common Assessment Framework (CAP) and other initiatives impacting
on developing multi-agency Educational Psychology practice alongside working with
The study also reflects an inquiry into the appropriate progression of Educational
Psychology practice. It is based in an appreciation of the theoretical perspective of a
positively applied Educational Psychology incorporating theories about and
knowledge of childhood risk and resilience and associated risk and resilience or
protective factors and how this may impact on Educational Psychology practice to
help secure positive outcomes for children.
The study seeks to investigate the perceived value and impact of the process of
introducing both the concept of childhood risk and resilience and a framework of
identified risk and resilience factors (on which the CAP is based) to Educational
Psychologists (EPs), other professionals and parents working together to support
children. What implications deriving from the process would there be for future
Educational Psychology practice?
The study operates within the domain and traditions of research into childhood risk
and resilience factors established by previous researchers.
Educational Psychologists already working with a consultation model for service
delivery (a model which promotes joint problem solving with the psychologist from
the onset of involvement) introduced the concept (following their own briefing on the
topic) that childhood risk or resilience factors can impact on life outcomes to parents
of primary aged children they were working with and other professionals who were
involved. They were also equipped with a framework of identified risk and resilience
factors, compiled from a literature review and analysis using coding and thematic
analysis principles, applied to selected other studies, reports and projects in this area,
which they could apply in any way they wished to underpin their work. An evaluation framework was established and evidence relating to key research
questions was gathered through literature review, consultation, interview,
questionnaire and focus groups. Information about the process applied, perceptions
about the value and the impact of the process, changes in those perceptions and other
outcomes such as reading attainment, attendance levels, exclusion levels and
perceived changes in risk and resilience factors for the child participants were also
In association with a flexible sequential research design and a staged approach to the
study, both qualitative and quantitative data relating to process, perceptions and
outcomes were analysed from each stage to inform the subsequent stage of enquiry, to
ensure informed participation and investigation of the level of agreement with the
hypothesis being explored, i.e. that working with the concept of childhood risk and
resilience and an associated framework would be helpful to educational psychologists
in their work. Central to this process was the identification of emerging themes and
principles through thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006), but also opportunities
for participants to consider their perspectives in the light of emerging evidence.
Based on this data collection and analysis, an underpinning hypothesis that working
with the concept of childhood risk and resilience and a framework of childhood risk
and resilience factors would be positively received appears to be largely supported by
the evidence obtained and further development of Educational Psychology practice
along these lines is implied. In this regard, however, a number of factors and
considerations are identified, which would make this process more acceptable and
productive. These include: careful consideration of the associated language; and the
identification of risk to parents. Also included is a consideration of how the process
can be identified to sit with the Common Assessment Framework and desirable
developing multi-agency preventive practice models.
Innovations in training for Educational Psychologists and developments in preventive
practice based in Positive Psychology are considered as an opportunity for
Educational Psychologists to develop joined up preventive work with other agencies that sits well with the developing Common Assessment Framework and initiatives to
foster emotional wellbeing in children.
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