An Exploration of the Use of Solution Circles as an Intervention with Secondary School Pupils

Prof Doc Thesis

Elliott, R. 2019. An Exploration of the Use of Solution Circles as an Intervention with Secondary School Pupils. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsElliott, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Solution Circles is a structured tool for problem solving that has mostly been used with adults as part of peer supervision for school staff, or in educational psychology practice, but there is a scarcity of published research exploring or investigating its use. In particular, there is no available published literature exploring the use of Solution Circles as a weekly intervention with young people. Given that there is a significant focus on schools supporting children and young people’s social, emotional and mental health needs, the research aimed to explore the use of weekly Solution Circle intervention groups across two secondary schools. The mixed methods research, conducted from a pragmatic perspective, involved a total of 36 participants, which included thirty pupil participants – six of whom contributed to a pilot study, two Special Educational Needs Coordinators, and four Solution Circle group Facilitators. Quantitative data indicated that all pupil participants had made progress toward their personalised targets, and 55 per cent of them had either reached or exceeded their expected targets. Inferential statistics conducted on scores of a self-report resilience measure indicated that pupil participants’ scores on the Sense of Mastery subscale significantly increased, but scores on the Relatedness subscale, Emotional Reactivity subscale, Resource index and Vulnerability index did not differ significantly. This indicates an increase in pupil participants’ optimism, self-efficacy and adaptability. Thematic analysis of qualitative data gathered from focus groups with pupil participants and interviews with Facilitators and Special Educational Needs Coordinators highlighted three overarching themes relating to pupils’ experiences of the group, and adults’ views on the feasibility of setting up and running the groups. The themes were processes, outcomes and the future. Processes related to practicalities and structures; outcomes related to efficacy, internal resources and external resources; and the future highlighted considerations and ideas for any changes that schools might want to consider for future use of the intervention, and motivation for the school staff and young people to continue using the intervention. The promising findings from this research highlight how future use of Solution Circles groups in schools could be beneficial in increasing confidence, resilience, and providing young people with widened external support systems.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Online24 Jul 2020
Publication process dates
SubmittedApr 2019
Deposited24 Jul 2020
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