Exploring social justice at the educational psychology service level

  • Esther Kuria

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Inequalities of educational experience and outcomes persist despite a range of UK government actions. As these inequities continue to permeate the education and wellbeing of disadvantaged children and young people, educational psychologists have been encouraged to respond as advocates (Kakkad, 2005). A configurative review explored educational psychologists’ (EPs’) perceptions regarding how they address cultural factors during consultation and the factors which influence use of culturally responsive consultation. Systematic searching identified nine US papers for review. An exploratory piece of qualitative research using a case study approach was used to explore how an educational psychology service (EPS) is developing social justice principles to serve a diverse population. Using content and thematic analysis, the study presents the results of three focus groups regarding how EPs define social justice, how social justice exists within EPS delivery and the factors that impact the application of social justice principles. The review found that cultural influences are considered in various ways in consultation such as relationship building and bridging the language barrier. Culture was most often equated to ethnic and/or racial differences with little exploration of intersections with other facets of culture. The empirical study found that equity, equality, diversity, power and privilege were terms used to define social justice. Professional development, use of consultation strategies, reflecting and adapting in consultation and use of data were among themes identified to describe social justice in EP practice. Implications include the need for EPs to assess their culturally responsive practice and seek further training, as needed; and training programs need to prepare EPs to practice within a culturally diverse population. The concepts of evidence-based practice, practice-based evidence and dissemination are examined. The effective dissemination of research in relation to outcomes and impact is discussed and a wide-ranging strategy for disseminating this research is outlined.
Date of Award31 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Woods (Supervisor) & Catherine Kelly (Supervisor)


  • educational psychology service
  • Social justice
  • school consultant
  • school psychologist
  • educational psychologist
  • Culturally responsive consultation

Cite this