A new article published in the British Educational Research Journal describes a study of Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), a multi-component social-emotional learning programme that is widely used in schools in the UK. Estimates in 2010 suggest that 90% of primary schools and 70% of secondary schools had engaged with SEAL resources, at least to some extent.
For the study, a team of school advisors used a semi-structured observation and interview protocol to rate various aspects of the implementation of SEAL in 49 primary and secondary schools. A total of 2,242 pupils in 29 of these schools completed measures of social experiences and school ethos. School-level achievement and attendance statistics were also collated for all participating schools.
The authors raise the issue of implementation as the programme is built on the premise that each school or setting should find its own way into, and use for, SEAL materials. They note that perceived tensions could be identified between SEAL and other initiatives that may have made competing demands on staff time, effort, and resources. They say these factors may explain the mixed results of previous evaluations.
This evaluation found that the ratings indicative of a whole-school universal approach to SEAL were significantly correlated with school ethos, which in turn mediated associations with pupils’ social experiences, overall achievement, and persistent absence.
Source: Working with ‘Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning’ (SEAL): Associations with School Ethos, Pupil Social Experiences, Attendance, and Attainment (2014), British Educational Research Journal, 40(4).