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Educational Psychology and Multidisciplinary Practice in Residential Schools: A Multiple Case Study

11 January 2021

Author: Kathryn Velat (University College London)

Multidisciplinary working continues to be a primary factor in providing effective service delivery in order to gain successful outcomes for children and young people (CYP) with special educational needs (SEN).

Additionally, the role of the educational psychologist continues to evolve due to environmental, social and political pressures.

Against that backdrop, this thesis aims to build on the research in these areas, specifically in relation to residential schools for CYP with SEN, by exploring how multidisciplinary teams and educational psychologists work in this context.

A systematic literature review was carried out to explore the factors that constitute effective multidisciplinary working in both internal and external teams that are involved with CYP with SEN.

The findings revealed both positive and negative experiences of multidisciplinary working.

A number of methodological considerations are discussed, alongside recommendations for future research and potential implications for practice.

The empirical paper outlines a multiple case study to exploring educational psychology in residential schools for CYP with SEN.

This approach was taken to address the lack of research in the area of educational psychology in this context.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 members of staff from three residential schools across two counties.

The semi-structured interviews were analysed using a thematic analysis approach and findings were triangulated with filed notes, observations and documentation.

Findings overall suggest that educational psychologists’ involvement with residential schools is rare and primarily occurs in times of crises or with placement concerns, unless they are a permanent staff member.

The final chapter within this thesis consists of a dissemination and impact plan which sets out the research’s impact at a social, academic and policy level.

Implications and directions for Educational Psychology practice are discussed and an overview of the dissemination plan provided.


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