Exploring the Perspectives of Children and Young People; How Children and Young People View Secondary School Staff to Support Pupil Wellbeing
Langford, Hannah Leah
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This study explores the views of children and young people and their perceptions of how secondary school staff promote pupil wellbeing. Previous research has predominately focused on measuring the wellbeing of children and young people, looking at wellbeing trends between gender and year group and identifying the key areas which children and young people view are central to their wellbeing. This study seeks to elicit, from the perspective of children and young people, their definition of the term wellbeing, the key areas which are important to their wellbeing, how their school staff provide support within these key areas, whether there are differences between self-reported wellbeing and levels of satisfaction and adequacy in their lives. Furthermore, this study aims to explore whether standardised questionnaires include key areas which are important to children and young people and therefore, whether they are valid tools to measure the wellbeing of children and young people. Thematic analysis of focus groups, of 16 participants, identified that participants viewed wellbeing to be a multifaceted concept which is likely to evolve over time. Participants expressed that there are 4 key areas which are important to their wellbeing; their relationships, having access to activities, having their basic needs met and having a positive outlook on life. Furthermore, male and female participants expressed different perceptions of the important key areas to their wellbeing. 40 participants completed a self-reported wellbeing questionnaire. Data analysis of the Children’s Worlds Wellbeing questionnaire found that there were no gender or year group differences in the levels of self-reported wellbeing. However, there was a significant difference between males and females in the levels of satisfaction with their local area, indicating that males are significantly more satisfied with where they live. The key areas elicited from the focus groups and the areas covered in the Children’s Worlds Wellbeing questionnaire were compared, finding that there were numerous overlaps between the two sources. However, there appeared to be significant gaps within the questionnaire which participants expressed were important to their wellbeing, suggesting that such tools may have limited validity with this sample. 8 participants participated in semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis identified that overall, participants held positive perceptions of how their school staff support pupil wellbeing, regardless of their self-reported level of wellbeing. Additionally, participants expressed that their school staff provide support which spans across each of the four key areas identified as important to their wellbeing. Although participants acknowledge the valuable support which school staff currently provides, several areas where school staff may further improve provision to improve pupil wellbeing were identified. The implications of the study are considered for schools, educational psychologists and for future directions.
Doctor of Educational, Child and Community Psychology