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School of Environment, Education and Development

Evolving research

Academics within the SEED work with schools in order to better understand and support education.

Below are a few examples of our work in action:

PATHS to Success

Principle Investigator: Professor Neil Humphrey

PATHS (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) is a social and emotional learning curriculum that helps children to manage their behaviour, understand their emotions and work well with others.

45 Primary schools in the ten Local Authorities in Greater Manchester are currently participating in a randomised control trial of PATHS in order to examine the impact of the curriculum on the social and emotional wellbeing of children in Years 3-6. Measures also include health related quality of life, school attendance and academic attainment. Economic analyses will also examine if the intervention provides good value for money.

The project runs from January 2012 until March 2017. The implementation and impact of PATHS will be examined over a two-year period from September 2012 to July 2014. There will then be a two-year follow up period from July 2014 to July 2016 in which we will examine whether any impact of PATHS is sustained.

Further information

Challenge the Gap

Principle Investigator: Professor Mel West

Challenge the Gap (CtG) is a school to school approach to narrowing the gap co-ordinated by Challenge Partners. Challenge Partners is a network of schools committed to taking forward and developing successful school improvement approaches.

Researchers in the School of Education, Environment and Development have worked collaboratively with three ‘trios’ of schools (nine schools) in Manchester and London in understanding how the CtG programme has developed through its pilot phase. Further work will be carried out with the national sample of CtG Schools to understand how the programme is scaled up across multiple trios.

The project runs until 2016, and expects to publish useful information about the effects of school-to-school partnerships.

Further information


Principle Investigator: Dr. Michael Wigelsworth

Inclusive is a school-led intervention that aims to improve behaviour, reduce bullying and improve social and emotional skills. It has three main elements: all school staff are trained in managing behaviour; Year 8 pupils receive a social and emotional learning curriculum; and a school action group involving students and staff reviews data on needs, makes changes to school policies and rules to improve relationships at school and reduce disruptive behaviour.

An external facilitator supports these changes over two years, with the aim that the school will maintain the programme independently thereafter.

Researchers in the School of Education, Environment and Development working with colleagues at the London Institute of Education and over 40 secondary schools in England to examine whether the Inclusive intervention is effective in managing behaviour and improving academic attainment.

Further information

The impact and experience of primary-secondary school transition for children with autism spectrum

Principle Investigator: Dr. Judith Hebron

This project aims to explore the impact and experience of primary to secondary transition for young people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). This will be done by following groups of children with and without ASC from the end of Y6 to early Y8, gaining information by means of questionnaires and in-depth interviews.

Approximately 40 primary schools and a similar number of secondary schools in the north west of England and North Wales are involved. Questionnaires will investigate pupils’, parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of transition, focusing on child well-being, psychosocial adjustment, school connectedness, and resilience. This will be compared to that of pupils with other special educational needs, and those with no-known additional needs. Detailed case studies on 10 pupils with ASC, their families and schools will aim to explore the process of transition in more depth and permit a greater overall understanding of the processes and experiences involved. Best practice guidance on transition arrangements will be developed in conjunction with families, schools and local authorities.

The project runs from autumn 2013 until autumn 2015. Dissemination will include parents, schools, local authorities, charitable organisations and parent support groups, as well as publications in a range of academic journals and conference presentations.

Further information