What is the impact of Family SEAL? An evaluation of the Family SEAL intervention examining the impact of the programme on children and parent/carer participants.
This research evaluated the impact of the Family SEAL (DfES, 2006) intervention\ud programme on children and parents in a mainstream primary school and Pupil\ud Referral Unit. Family SEAL is a psycho-educational and experiential programme\ud based on the Primary Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum,\ud which aims to engage parents as partners in developing children’s social and\ud emotional competence. Previous research has indicated that social and emotional\ud literacy interventions and parenting programmes can results in positive outcomes\ud for children in respect of their behaviour, well-being, achievement in school, social\ud skills and emotional literacy. Research into the impact of Family SEAL has\ud indicated that benefits associated with children’s measures of emotional literacy.\ud This evaluation study aimed to examine the outcomes and the processes involved\ud with the Family SEAL programme. The research was undertaken from a critical\ud realist perspective, adopting a mixed methods research design. The impact of the\ud programme on participants was assessed by interviewing parents/carers, children,\ud Behaviour Support Staff (BSS - programme co-facilitators) and a class teacher.\ud Impact was also assessed by administering Emotional Literacy (EL) Checklists and\ud Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) to measure aspects of children’s\ud behaviour and emotional literacy. Questionnaires were administered before (T1)\ud and after (T2) the programme to give a pre-post test measure of impact. Data was\ud analysed to investigate a change in children’s behaviour and emotional literacy\ud from T1 to T2. Qualitative data was obtained through carrying out semi-structured\ud interviews. Thematic analysis was applied to the qualitative data set, using an\ud inductive and deductive approach.\ud The research findings revealed process and outcome factors associated with the\ud impact of the Family SEAL programme. Process factors included: a fun and\ud welcoming environment, skilled and sensitive programme facilitators, parents and\ud children working together, the parent group and the Family SEAL programme\ud content and structure. Outcome factors included: increased parent confidence,\ud parents feel more relaxed, learned behaviour and communication strategies,\ud improved parent/carer-child relationships and some prosocial and emotional\ud literacy gains for children. Implications of these findings for EP practice are\ud discussed in relation to developing and delivering the Family SEAL programme\ud further and with regard to the evaluation process itself.