School Leaders Perceptions of the Work of Educational Psychologists in a Changing Socio-political Context

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Webster, Lesley (2015)

There has been a recent increase in the direct commissioning of Educational Psychology Services by school leaders and other stakeholders due to rapid changes in the political and socio-economic landscape. Such changes have led to a need to strategically reposition the profession of Educational Psychology in the new market place. In order to hold a strategic, leading position, there is an obligation on Educational Psychology Services to gain insight into and take full account of their commissioners’ needs and views of service delivery in a more in-depth, informative way than more traditional, positivist approaches have allowed. There exists an associated need to demonstrate that Educational Psychologists, as extensively trained, applied psychologists, are best placed to meet these needs.\ud This study is situated within a particular local authority and is based on a small sample of secondary school leaders who are currently purchasing Educational Psychology Services directly. Semi-structured interviews have been carried out and a Constructivist, Grounded Theory approach to data analysis taken. Theoretical sampling has led to the views of Educational Psychologists, as service providers and the views of a business consultant also being taken into account.\ud This study indicates commissioning school leaders consider Educational Psychologists to be knowledgeable experts who deliver a service that they value and would like more of and reveals that there is an array of barriers inhibiting the work of Educational Psychologists in secondary schools. These barriers and some potential ways of maximising service delivery are explored.\ud The implementation of Constructivist Grounded Theory within this study has allowed the construction of a Substantive Theory that positions Educational Psychologists as the missing link in improving the emotional well-being and attainment of young people in schools.
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