Evaluation of use of PATH by Educational Psychologists – Margo Bristow’s Doctorate 2014
This thesis presents the findings of an exploration into the use of PATH (a person-centred planning tool) by Educational Psychologists (EPs) with pupils excluded from school and/or in Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) or Alternative Provision (AP) settings. This group attracts considerable government attention as they are reported to face poor outcomes and reintegration rates from PRU to mainstream school are low.
Follow the link below to read a detailed thesis by Dr Margo Bristow on the use of PATH by educational Psychologists in the UK.
Effective planning, where pupils are actively involved in decision making, parents participate and services work together, is reported to be key in supporting successful outcomes. PATH places the young person and their family at the centre of the planning process, and utilises visual strategies for information sharing. The use of PATH by EPs in this context is a new and growing area of practice.
This study aimed to establish the potential role of PATH in the process of futures planning for vulnerable and challenging pupils. Nine PATH gatherings were examined and the perspectives of those for whom PATH was intended to support, as well as PATH facilitators and decision makers within PRU/AP settings were gathered. Semi-structured interview was the dominant qualitative method and thematic analysis was conducted to identify themes reflecting the participants experience of PATH, its role, strengths and limitations.
The findings indicate that PATH impacted positively and pupils attributed increased confidence and motivation to achieve their goals to their PATH. Parents and young people felt they had contributed to the process as equal partners, feeling their voices were heard. Improved pupil- parent relationships and parent-school relationships were reported and the importance of having skilled facilitators was highlighted. Although participants were generally positive about the process, many felt daunted beforehand, possibly due to a lack of preparation. Pre-PATH planning and post-PATH review were highlighted as areas requiring further consideration by PATH organisers. Recommendations to shape and improve the delivery of PATH are outlined together with future research directions.