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“My EP is a safety net”: An exploration of the support Educational Psychologists can provide for Emotional Literacy Support Assistants working with children who have experienced Domestic Abuse

Eldred, Kate Christina; (2021) “My EP is a safety net”: An exploration of the support Educational Psychologists can provide for Emotional Literacy Support Assistants working with children who have experienced Domestic Abuse. Doctoral thesis (D.Ed.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Domestic abuse (DA) is prevalent in the UK; its pernicious impact on the emotional wellbeing of children is well documented. The Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme (Burton, 2008) is utilised by schools to support children’s emotional needs and, as my research demonstrates, is delivered to children affected by DA. This study provides a distinct contribution to existing research exploring the ELSA programme by considering the support Educational Psychologists (EPs) can provide ELSAs delivering the ELSA programme to children affected by DA. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were utilised to explore the perspectives of key stakeholders (ELSAs, SENCos and EPs) involved in the delivery of the ELSA programme to children affected by DA in one London Borough. The research highlights protective factors and tensions in the use of ELSA in these instances. The research indicates that EPs act as a “safety net” for ELSAs by providing emotional containment, utilising their experience to develop ELSA practice, preparing ELSAs for complex cases, monitoring referrals and supporting ELSAs to apply psychological theory to their practice. In turn, ELSAs facilitate emotionally containing relationships for children affected by DA. However, EPs’ abilities to provide additional support to ELSAs in these circumstances are constrained by a broader climate of austerity and its impact on schools. Schools now face an increased tension between a growing pool of pupils requiring social-emotional support and mounting expectations for schools to meet these needs. Under tight budgetary constraints, schools may over-utilise interventions such as ELSA while lacking the trained staff necessary to meet the complex needs of children who have experienced DA. The use of the ELSA programme to support children affected by DA rests on the assumption that potentially limited intervention is preferable to none in the context of limited resources. Implications of the research findings for educational psychology practice are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Ed.Psy
Title: “My EP is a safety net”: An exploration of the support Educational Psychologists can provide for Emotional Literacy Support Assistants working with children who have experienced Domestic Abuse
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 > 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/10132162
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