Is the employment of pastoral support staff (PSS) working with students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs changing the role and responsibilities of teachers in London and South East England?

Journal article

O'Toole, A. and Soan, S 2021. Is the employment of pastoral support staff (PSS) working with students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs changing the role and responsibilities of teachers in London and South East England? Pastoral Care in Education.
AuthorsO'Toole, A. and Soan, S

This paper reports on key findings from a mixed method study analysing how teachers in secondary schools (students aged 12 – 19) in London and South East England view and experience pastoral care provided to students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. In England there is statistical evidence which shows schools are increasingly spending funding on support staff rather than teaching staff. The role of Pastoral Support Staff (PSS) who work with students with SEMH in some secondary schools is one such group of support staff. To date there has been limited research into how teachers perceive these changes and the effects on their role and responsibilities. The views of fifty-one respondents were gathered using an online semi-structured survey, followed by semi-structured interviews with six qualified teachers. Using a figured worlds conceptual framework, teachers’ perceptions of the use of pastoral support staff and the delivery of pastoral care in their schools, and therefore their worlds, were analysed. The findings were analysed using Hoy’s (2012) and Tschannen-Moran’s (2014) work on trust in schools exploring the trust dynamic between PSS and teachers. Results show that the teachers who participated in this research felt there was a lack of information sharing between different PSS and teachers and have seen the separation of pastoral care from the role of teacher leading to confusion around their responsibilities.

KeywordsSEMH; Pastoral care; Pastoral support staff (PSS); Teachers' role and responsibilities; Social Emotional and Mental Health
JournalPastoral Care in Education
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Apr 2021
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Output statusIn press

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