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Student health and well-being in secondary schools: the role of school support staff alongside teaching staff

Littlecott, Hannah, Moore, Graham and Murphy, Simon 2018. Student health and well-being in secondary schools: the role of school support staff alongside teaching staff. Pastoral Care in Education 36 (4) , pp. 297-312. 10.1080/02643944.2018.1528624

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Abstract

A growing evidence base indicates that health and educational attainment are synergistic goals. Students’ relationships with teachers and other students in the school environment are consistently predictive of a broad range of health and well-being outcomes. Despite the potential importance of relationships between students and a broad range of actors within a school, research tends to reduce ‘school staff’ to ‘teachers’. Previous research has highlighted incongruence between the power imbalance within a teacher–student relationship and the dynamics required to address health and well-being-related issues. To date, there has been no investigation into how the nature of the relationships between students and support staff may differ from those with teaching staff. This article aims to conceptualise the role of support versus teaching staff in promoting health and well-being to understand how school system functioning may affect relationships between school staff and students. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain the perceptions of staff, students and parents within four exploratory case study schools of differing socio-economic status, geographical location and size. In line with the Theory of Health Promoting Schools and Human Functioning, findings demonstrated that the prominence of well-being relies on provision of staffing structures which include a team of support staff to work alongside teaching staff to provide the time and space to deal with issues immediately and build trust and rapport in a one-to-one setting. Further mixed-methods research is required to investigate how staffing structures can facilitate the development of mutually trusting relationships between staff and students.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0264-3944
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 October 2018
Date of Acceptance: 26 July 2018
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2019 15:24
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/115572

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