Special Educational Need Coordinator (SENCO) wellbeing: a mixed methods exploration of workplace demands and effective coping actions

Lewis, Thomas Frederick (2017). Special Educational Need Coordinator (SENCO) wellbeing: a mixed methods exploration of workplace demands and effective coping actions. University of Birmingham. Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.

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Occupational stress (OS) presents a significant threat to teachers’ wellbeing. High levels of OS can impact multiple areas, including teachers’ health, job-performance, schools’ financial resources, and pupils’ wellbeing. Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs) play a critical role in coordinating provision for pupils with special educational needs, and represent a group that have received little research attention in relation to OS and wellbeing.

This research adopted a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design to explore the extent, causes, and means of effectively managing OS in the SENCO role. The role that educational psychologists (EPs) can play in supporting SENCOs to manage OS was also explored. 38 practicing SENCOs from a local authority in the West Midlands, England, participated in the study. Participant views were gathered using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, and were analysed via descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. 84% of participants reported to find the role ‘moderately stressful’, ‘very stressful’ or ‘extremely stressful’. Factors which were perceived to cause OS a.) most frequently, and b.) to the greatest extent were identified. These were diverse and included those related to workload and resource availability, as well as those related to the status of the role, and relational and emotional factors.

Approaches that enabled participants to cope well with OS, despite facing high workplace demands were also identified, as were means through which educational psychologists could support SENCOs in managing OS. Participants’ beliefs about the role, relationships, cognitive resources, and the culture and systems within their school were instrumental in coping with OS. It was perceived that EPs could support SENCOs in managing OS through contact, working in a child and school-centred manner, and through facilitating problem-solving. Findings are discussed in relation to extant literature, and implications for theory and educational psychology practice are also highlighted.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ap.Ed.&ChildPsy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education, Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs
Funders: Other
Other Funders: The University of Birmingham
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education > L Education (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/7781


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