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Research reports and publications

This area highlights research and materials that can be accessed by educators in order to implement, develop, or enhance models or programmes of behviour change in an educational setting. Included are reports, research papers,  and publications that show current evidence practice for effective programmes.

Smith P, O'Donnell L, Easton C and Rudd P. (2007) Secondary social, emotional and behavioural skills (SEBS) pilot evaluation. NFER/ Research Report DCSF-RR003

This report is an evaluation of the secondary Social, Emotional and Behavioural Skills (SEBS) pilot. The aim of the pilot was to encourage secondary schools to take a whole-school approach to developing social, emotional and behavioural skills amongst staff and pupils and to integrate it in to their existing work. Six local authorities (LAs) were selected to take part in the pilot comprising just over 50 schools. The programme was a precursor to SEAL being extended to secondary schools.
Although the report mainly covers the implementation of the programme evidence was gathered on the impact of the programme. Just under three quarters of respondents felt the pilot had a 'considerable' or 'some' impact on pupil behaviour, pupil emotional wellbeing and teaching and learning.


Humphrey N, Kalambouka A, Bolton J, Lendrum A, Wigelsworth M, Lennie C and Farrell P (2008) Primary Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) Evaluation of Small Group Work. DCSF

The main aim of the study was to assess the impact of small group work on children requiring more support in developing their social and emotional skills. A secondary aim was to gather information on successful implementation of small group interventions.


Cooper P & Whitebread D (2007) The effectiveness of nurture groups on student progress: evidence from a national research study, in Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (Vol.12 Number 3 September 2007)

Nurture groups (NGs) are a form of provision for children with social, emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties. The study attempted to assess the effectiveness of NGs in promoting positive social, emotional and educational development. The research paper highlighted that nurture groups are extremely successful, not only in sustaining children in mainstream classes but also in making a powerful and positive impact on other children and teachers in the school. As well as improvements in the behaviour, attainments and attendance rates for children in the nurture groups, other children in the school with less serious SEBD make measurable improvements.


Hallam, S., Castle, F., Rogers, L., Creech, A., Rhamie, J., Kokotsaki, D. (2005) Research and Evaluation of the Behaviour Improvement Programme. Research report  RR702, London: DfES 2005

The national 'Behaviour Improvement Programme' (BIP) set up by the government in 2002 provided 34 local authorities with the funds to support behaviour improvement strategies aimed at reducing exclusions and raising attainment. In order to do so, the BIP aimed to identify and respond to issues of pupils' behaviour. The strategies all involved multi-agency working through behaviour and educational support teams (BESTs). The study describes what schools did - by themselves and through working with other agencies - to try to improve attendance and attainment for the most vulnerable young people.


Carl Rogers and classroom climate (October 2008) General Teaching Council for England

This Research for Teachers (RfT) summary explores Carl Rogers beliefs about teaching and learning, and draws out the implications for teachers.


Weare K and Gray G (2003) What works in developing children's emotional and social competence and well-being? DfES Research Report 456

Report examining how children's emotional and social competence and wellbeing could most effectively be developed at national and local level and identifying those broad approaches which show most promise. The study involved a literature review, case study work in five local education authorities (LEAs) and interviews with professionals working in the field.


Cullen, M.A., Fletcher-Campbell, F., Bowen, E., Osgood, J., and Kelleher, S., (2000) Alternative education provision at Key Stage 4, National Foundation for Educational Research

Research focusing on learner perceptions and disaffection as well as the outcomes and impact of strategies designed to change such perceptions. The researchers asked about the different kinds of programmes schools offered, what the students did on them and whether the participants felt the programmes made any positive difference to the students' attitudes and learning.
The researchers report that the participants who took part in their study strongly believed that well planned, well run and well monitored alternative curriculum programmes helped to re-engage and re-motivate previously disaffected and disengaged young people. They also felt such programmes were beneficial to the students' families, the schools, the participating organisations and the local communities. In their report, the researchers explored a number of features underpinning alternative programmes including:

  • creating a supportive school context
  • making and sustaining collaborative partnerships
  • encouraging and acknowledging student achievement
  • monitoring, assessing and evaluating the outcomes.


The Positive Impact of SEL for Kindergarten to Eighth-Grade Students: Findings from Three Scientific Reviews (2008)

This report summarizes results from three large-scale reviews of research on the impact of social and emotional learning (SEL) programs on elementary and middle-school students. The three reviews look at programs intended for the general student-body, programs directed toward children with identified needs, and programs in after-school settings.

(Sept 2006) Implementing the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools. Report of the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project

The report outlines the impact of incorporating a values framework for pupils across the teaching curriculum. The programme was aimed at all school ages. The report highlights methods and approaches and shows evidence for improvements in aspects of school life, including student learning, student behaviours, teacher professional practice, relationships in school and school culture change.
Report findings showed:

  • changes in teacher professional practice in classrooms and, in particular, in the way teachers relate to and communicate with their students;
  • produce calmer and more focused classroom activity;
  • enable students to become better self managers;
  • help students develop greater capacities for reflection;
  • increase teachers' levels of confidence in their approaches to their work and
  • their sense of professional fulfilment;
  • produce strong positive relationships between students and between students and teachers.

Bernard M (2006) It's Time We Teach Social-Emotional Competence As Well As We Teach Academic Competence in Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22: 103-119, Taylor and Francis

This article discusses the non-academic, social-emotional factors that contribute to student academic achievement, including the cognitivebehavioral characteristics of underachieving students and those with learning disabilities; the 'You Can Do It! Education' (YCDI) theory of achievement; derivative research on social-emotional capabilities, called the Five Foundations (Academic Confidence, Work Persistence, Work Organization, Getting Along, Emotional Resilience) that, when delayed, produce achievement problems; and recommendations for developing students' social-emotional competence. The research reviewed demonstrates that the Five Foundations and associated Habits of the Mind can be taught to young people, producing increased effort with schoolwork and better achievement.



WhatWorksWell is an interactive web tool designed to help facilitate the capture and transfer of successful practice. It is a growing database of case studies which describe learning improvement. It's where teaching practitioners can share real practice which has improved learning and teaching. Case studies are focused on the learning needs of the pupils and the difference made to their progress. Search or browse to find out how others have improved their pupils' learning. Register to add your own case study; case studies remain the property of their author
WhatWorksWell provides a space and a tool for searching out and sharing useful developments. It aims to create an environment where it is safe to take risks, seek out what’s worked well for others in similar or different surroundings, adapt and adopt them in the classroom.


Carl R. Rogers H. Jerome Freiberg (1994) Freedom to Learn

Many of the concepts discussed in this seminal publication were the foundation stone for the schools SEAL Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning programme. (See section on Guidance and toolkits) The book provides the cornerstone for any models that promote behaviour change. This book,published after Rogers death, had Frieberg writing a 1990s perspective to the original. He retained many of the chapters with few changes because he felt they stood the test of time, but he also introduced a great deal of new material to incorporate more recent experiences.
Research has often shown that when teachers provided the kind of facilitative climate Rogers describes in his book, students learned more, attended school more often, were more creative, more motivated and more capable of enhanced problem-solving. In the book Rogers believed that teaching which involved facilitating learning was preferable to direct instruction; facilitated learning involves providing pupils with opportunities for problem-solving, which require pupils to hypothesise, ask questions and discuss lines of enquiry; teachers showing their students empathic understanding had a better relationship with their pupils that led to greater inclusivity.

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