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Educational psychologist and special educational needs co-ordinator constructions of effective collaborative working: an exploratory study

Young, Susannah 2017. Educational psychologist and special educational needs co-ordinator constructions of effective collaborative working: an exploratory study. DEdPsy Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The current educational and legislative reforms in the United Kingdom have placed effective multi-agency collaboration at the forefront of the professional agenda e.g., the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (DfE, 2014) in England; and the draft Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Code of Practice in Wales (Welsh Government, 2015; 2017). Central to this process is a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each multi-agency professional. A wealth of research has illustrated incongruities in the perceptions of the role and practice of educational psychologists (EP) between EPs themselves and school professionals e.g. teachers (Kelly & Gray, 2000; Farrell, Jimerson, Kalambouka & Benoit, 2005). Fewer papers have explored barriers and/or facilitators to effective collaboration between the two professional groups (Davies, Howes, & Farrell, 2008). Fewer papers still have focused on comparing Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators’ (SENCo) and EPs’ perceptions of the role in particular (Ashton & Roberts, 2006). As SENCos are important link colleagues for EPs, responsible for co-ordinating support for children and young people with additional learning needs in their educational setting, a clear understanding of the EP role is integral to effective collaborative working. The current study aims: first, to compare and contrast EP and SENCo perceptions of the effectiveness of roles and/or functions of the EP; and second, to explore perceived facilitators and barriers to effective collaborative working between the two professional groups. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect data using questionnaires and focus groups. Forty-two EPs and seventy-two SENCos returned questionnaires representing data from a variety of geographical locations across Wales. Seven EPs and eleven SENCos took part in four focus groups in both rural and urban regions of Wales. Seven superordinate themes were identified including: (1) Interpersonal Relationships; (2) Understanding of Roles; (3) Value of EP involvement; (4) Clarity of the EP role; (5) The School System; and (6) The Wider Context. The final theme (7) Dream and Design includes EP and SENCo suggestions for future practice. These are discussed in relation to perceived facilitators and barriers and key areas of difference and/or similarity between responses. Implications of the present study for the role of EPs are discussed, together with the future directions for research.

Item Type: Thesis (DEdPsy)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Funders: Welsh Government
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 September 2017
Date of Acceptance: 19 September 2017
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2017 09:14

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