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Working on Wellbeing: An exploration of the factors that support teacher wellbeing, and the potential role for Educational Psychologists

Birchall, Ashley; (2021) Working on Wellbeing: An exploration of the factors that support teacher wellbeing, and the potential role for Educational Psychologists. Doctoral thesis (D.Ed.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Teaching is one of the most stressful professions, consequentially three quarters of the education profession have faced difficulties with their physical and mental health and wellbeing; this is notably higher than the rest of the working population. The impact of decreased teacher wellbeing is not only confined to individual detriment; its effects are wide-reaching, impacting teaching quality, teacher-pupil relationships, pupil attainment and pupil wellbeing, amongst others. Despite this, teacher wellbeing has historically been overlooked by policymakers and remains a comparatively under-researched area within the UK. This research used a mixed methods design to investigate the factors that support teacher wellbeing across mainstream primary and secondary school settings, and the potential role for Educational Psychologists (EPs). Data was collected from both teachers (n=69) and EPs (n=19) using online questionnaires (Phase 1) and semi-structured interviews (Phase 2), and was analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. The research identified a range of factors that support teacher wellbeing, with supportive factors clustered around seven key themes: ‘physical and mental health difficulties’, ‘teacher dependent’ factors (e.g. characteristics, experience, willingness to seek support), ‘context dependent’ factors (e.g. school ethos, senior leadership team), ‘external influences’ (e.g. parents, government, access to external support), ‘expectations’, ‘support network’, and ‘pupils’. There was no consensus regarding whether EPs have/should have a role in supporting teacher wellbeing, views were divergent. However, four key themes were identified; ‘perceptions of EP role’, ‘approach’, ‘direct support’, and ‘indirect support’. Overall, the research has demonstrated that there are a number of ways in which teacher wellbeing can be supported going forwards, and a number of distinct roles for Educational Psychologists. Key stakeholders (e.g. schools and Educational Psychology Services) may wish to reflect on these findings and consider making meaningful changes to improve the wellbeing of teachers. Implications for future research are also suggested.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Ed.Psy
Title: Working on Wellbeing: An exploration of the factors that support teacher wellbeing, and the potential role for Educational Psychologists
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122171
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