Using Implementation Science with Whole School Approaches

  • Sarah Ward

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


Whole school approaches to support children and young people's mental health and wellbeing are much advocated. Implementing whole school approaches includes multiple systems and is complex. Implementation Science can be used to facilitate the use of whole school approaches. This thesis outlines how implementation science can be used for whole school approaches, particularly around mental health, wellbeing and emotionally based school non-attendance (EBSN). A systematic literature review (SLR) focused on the facilitators and barriers to implementing whole school mental health and wellbeing approaches. The results led to the creation of a determinant framework, which incorporates elements of Implementation Science. Action research took place over the course of a year within a large, mainstream secondary school. The action research focused on the implementation of whole school EBSN guidance. Findings highlighted facilitators and barriers, and also the impact of the implementation efforts. The thesis concludes by exploring the connections between evidence-based practice (EBP), practice-based evidence (PBE), implementation and dissemination. A targeted dissemination strategy for the current research is outlined in the hope that change can occur in relation to whole school implementation for mental health, wellbeing and EBSN.
Date of Award31 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCaroline Bond (Supervisor) & Catherine Kelly (Supervisor)


  • emotionally based school non-attendance (EBSN)
  • intervention
  • education
  • implementation
  • whole school
  • review

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