An evaluation of the impact of a Scottish Local Authority Nurturing Relationships Approach

  • Amy Nolan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology

Abstract

There is a variety of research on the impact of Nurture Groups (NGs) in schools. Less is known about the impact of whole school nurturing approaches. This research forms part of the evaluation for X Local Authority’s Nurturing Relationships Approach (XNRA) which is a whole school nurturing approach. The research begins with a systematic review focusing on the impact of Nurturing Approaches, followed by the empirical study. The empirical study sets out to measure: (1) the impact of XNRA on school staff’s practice in the primary and secondary sectors, (2) does a XNRA have social, emotional and behavioural effects on pupils in the primary sector, and (3) does XNRA have social, emotional and behavioural effects on pupils in the secondary sector. A mixed methods approach is utilised. Pupils in Primary 2, Primary 4, Primary 5, Secondary 1, Secondary 2, and Secondary 3 are tracked over two school sessions in four intervention schools and four comparison schools. A school session runs from the middle of August until the end of June. Teacher, pupil and parent Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs) (Goodman, 1997) and the Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale (Liddle & Carter, 2015) are used to measure social, emotional and behavioural effects pre-intervention and at the end of the second school session. Staff, pupil and parent focus groups are conducted at the end of the second school session in the four intervention schools to measure the impact of XNRA on staff’s practice and investigate if XNRA has social, emotional and behavioural effects on pupils. Results suggest that XNRA has a positive impact on school staff’s practice in terms of: changes in staff’s skills, knowledge and understanding, changes in mindset, implementation of new interventions as part of XNRA, an emphasis on relationships, and changes to the environment. Results also indicate that XNRA has positive social, emotional and behavioural effects on pupils in the primary and secondary sectors. Quantitative analysis suggests a statistically significant difference in Teacher SDQ scores between the intervention and the comparison groups in the primary sector, and a statistically significant difference in parent SDQ prosocial scores between the intervention and the comparison group in the secondary sector. Although other quantitative results were not statistically significant, it is interesting to note that the mean scores improved more in the intervention group than they did in the comparison group. Positive social, emotional, and behavioural effects for pupils are also identified through focus groups. Strengths and limitations of the research are discussed, along with implications for future practice.
Date of Award2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Dundee
SupervisorBeth Hannah (Supervisor) & Liz Lakin (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Nurture
  • Whole school
  • Wellbeing

Cite this

An evaluation of the impact of a Scottish Local Authority Nurturing Relationships Approach
Nolan, A. (Author). 2020

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Educational Psychology