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Improving health education practice in secondary school : a social ecological examination of personal and social education policy implementation processes and practice in Welsh secondary schools

The effectiveness of school-based health education in changing behaviour and health outcomes is limited. This in part can be attributed to the types of classroom exchanges taking place within health education lessons. There is an evident need to examine the potential link between pedagogy and health education. This study comprises a social ecological examination of the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Personal and Social Education (PSE) policy, which seeks to promote health behaviours alongside social and economic wellbeing. A socio-ecological (SE) perspective aims to understand the different influences on practice and take into account individual, social and organisational level influences on implementation. An exploratory case study is used to examine practice in four systematically selected secondary schools from two local authorities in Wales (FSM entitlement >20% and <10%). Methods incorporate analysis of national and local policy documents, interviews with implementers at local authority (n=5) and school level (n=11), lesson observations (n=12 lessons) and pupil focus groups (n= 23 pupils). The findings suggest that a lack of clarity about how PSE should be implemented in schools seems to lead to uncertainties among implementers. These uncertainties are exacerbated by a focus on graded performance that has shaped school staff beliefs and organisational arrangements. A performance focus also re-emerges in classroom practice that is mainly characterised by a transmission of facts although some competency-focused classroom exchanges are apparent. There is some limited evidence of pupils’ understanding and generalising health knowledge and self-reported self-regulation of health behaviours.
Date January 2014
CreatorsJerzembek, Gabrielle
PublisherCardiff University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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