What Works: The Views of Young Black People on School Wellbeing Provisions

Prof Doc Thesis

Gicheva, E. 2023. What Works: The Views of Young Black People on School Wellbeing Provisions. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8wwxx
AuthorsGicheva, E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Wellbeing of children and young people (YP) in the UK is a national concern, which has resulted in an increased empirical and policy interest in this topic. While Black students appear to be at higher risk of wellbeing problems, there is limited evidence on what school support is effective for this student group. Additionally, previous research has predominantly focused on within-child wellbeing interventions, which have been ‘done to’ rather than ‘done with’ students. This reinforces the deficit narratives surrounding Black students’ wellbeing and disregards systemic factors that exacerbate it (e.g. racial discrimination).

Accordingly, the present study adopts solution-oriented (Harker et al., 2016) and social-ecological lenses (Ungar et al., 2007) to identify what school wellbeing provisions are viewed as helpful by young Black people. This study aimed to be culturally sensitive and to empower the researched community, thus a participatory research approach was employed. Two co-researchers provided guidance on the data collection and dissemination approach of this study. Subsequently, 10 young Black people between the ages of 13 and 21 participated in semi-structured interviews. Data was transcribed verbatim and was, then, analysed inductively using Reflexive Thematic Analysis (Clarke & Braun, 2022).

The findings were applied to Ungar et al.’s (2007) social-ecological model, illustrating the different systemic factors contributing to young Black people’s wellbeing at school. These included personal factors facilitating pupils’ resilience, support from key attachment figures at school, needs-driven and accessible whole-school wellbeing provisions, and, crucially, positive and inclusive school ethos. Students suggested that the available support could be improved by promoting anti-discriminatory approaches, reducing academic pressures, incorporating pupil voice into provisions, and providing wellbeing check-ins. Finally, the implications of this study’s findings for Educational Psychology practice are discussed, before concluding with the author’s reflections on her research journey

Keywordsyoung Black people; wellbeing; school provision; views; participatory research
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8wwxx
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online31 Oct 2023
Publication process dates
Completed17 Jul 2023
Deposited31 Oct 2023
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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