Exploring educational psychologists’ work with children, young people and families from minority cultural and linguistic communities.

  • Elaine Ratheram

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Britain’s multicultural society has long engendered discussion and political opinion, and has been the subject of much consideration within schools. Educational professionals are called upon to promote inclusion and equity and to support all children and young people to realise their potential, including those from minority cultural and linguistic communities. The role of the educational psychologist in this work has received periodic attention. A systematic literature review was carried out to explore EP work in this area. As an emerging field within the literature, all peer-reviewed studies were included that examined EPs’ direct work, and perceptions of EP work with children and young people and families from minority cultural and linguistic communities. A significant shift in thinking within the British Psychological Society was noted in the most recent practice guidelines (2017) which include a section on working with cultural difference, and so limits were set to include studies dating from 2006 onwards to capture practice during this period. A framework synthesis approach identified influences on EP work, which include the EP’s understanding of others’ and own cultural values; access to services through language; policies, systems and practices of the educational setting, educational psychology service and the local authority; national agendas and discourses. A role for the EP as scientist-practitioner-advocate was identified. There has been little exploration of educational psychology practice with children and young people and families from minority cultural and linguistic communities. An action research design was used to address this gap and consider how this work might be developed. Carried out within one service over the period of nine months, it employed group data analysis of four focus groups. The development of practice was conceptualised as a dynamic journey of understanding and change. Findings reflect concepts within the literature, for example the need to develop cultural self-awareness, and for a safe space for reflection with colleagues. The concept of evidence-based practice is examined and a broad definition proposed; the concept of dissemination is considered, including the dissemination that is inherent to action research. A wide-ranging strategy for disseminating this research is outlined.
Date of Award31 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Woods (Supervisor) & Catherine Kelly (Supervisor)


  • EAL
  • cultur*
  • practice
  • minority
  • educational psychol*
  • ethnic*

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