Qualitative Findings

The presentations below outline the findings arising from the interviews and open-questionnaires which were held/conducted with:

  • Support Group pupils
  • their parents/guardians
  • Support Group Leaders
  • Pastoral Care Teachers
  • Class Teachers

both immediately after intervention ceased and one (or two years in respect of Case Study 3) after intervention. They also draw from the Focus Group discussions in which all Support Group Leaders participated and the three individual interviews which were conducted with those who could not be present at the Focus Group Discussion.  They highlight issues pertaining to:

  • the Support Group itself – its attributes, what is is considered t afford and, in particular, issues pertaining to ethos and climate and the promotion of reflection and learning
  • the change process – the process by which pupils come to see that change is a possibility for them and the nature of that process
  • pedagogy – what had been learned about teaching and learning
  • impediments to pupil progress associated with aspects of the approach itself or behaviour support in general
  • the school context
  • next steps and challenges.
There were many positive aspects which were regarded as being inherent within the approach which have been categorised as generally being ethos/relationships-related or related to learning. Whilst pupils and their parents were initially anxious about the invitation to participate within a support group, the majority of pupils responded positively, participated actively in activities and enjoyed their participation within the group. Initial concerns about potential stigmatisation and labelling were not experienced by the majority of pupils. Although the six case study pupils were asked specifically about this, none of them identified it as a problem. However, a minority of pupils did feel uncomfortable about being ‘singled out’ to attend and this was particularly the case for one of the transition groups in which the pupils responded positively in Primary school and during the first few weeks of Secondary but then did not want to be seen to be different from other pupils. However, this problem was not experienced within the other three transition groups.
Issues pertaining to the need for a whole-school approach, for support from the senior management team in facilitating the approach, the need for all staff to have some basic training in the approach and the need to reach out to and involve parents emerged as important.
The approach was considered to be highly congruent with current developments in Scottish Education, including GIRFEC, Curriculum for Excellence, Assessment is for Learning, Restorative Practice and Nurturing Approaches, and could be a valuable way of taking these forward. There was a strong desire from Cluster and Support Group Leaders (and from parents and pupils) for the approach to be developed further across the Local Authority and for younger pupils.

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