Respite, Relationships and Resilience: An evaluation of a Therapeutic Inclusion program with specific reference to pupils’ perceptions of the impact of Therapeutic Inclusion.

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Pauline Walters


This research follows the application of a programme, which uses therapeutic inclusion to determine its merit based on its perceived impact on a group of students with apparent social and emotional needs, staff and the whole school. Therapeutic Inclusion is a variant (a different form) of the Classic Boxall Nurture Group, developed by Marjorie Boxall; and is used to help adjust the social, emotional and behavioural skills of students. Past interventions have included strategies based on learning models that rely on behavioural, behaviour-cognitive and eco-systemic approaches. Recently there has been renewed interests in Nurture Groups as well as programmes that model positive behaviours within a supportive and child friendly environment. Structured and un-structured interviews from students and some staff, participant observations and documents are used to gather data. A thematic analysis of data suggests that while considered a ‘variant’ of the Classic Boxall Nurture Group, Therapeutic Inclusion does impact positively on students in many ways, including the acquisition of social and emotional skills, providing respite, building relationships and developing resilience. Other areas of impact include personal and professional gains to staff as well as positive gains at the whole school level. This research therefore has implications for the use of therapeutic approaches to dealing with students who experience Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, as well as staff who work with them. In particular, findings highlight the significance of supportive relationships as well as a culture of inclusion that supports the adjustment of all students, but in particular, those with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. However, full benefits of the programme are compromised by gaps in communication systems, issues regarding the monitoring of approaches and its dissemination of practises into mainstream classrooms and a failure to embed the intervention into the ‘whole-school’ culture. Findings are discussed in relation to the pressing need for approaches to dealing with children who experience Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, as well as the need for these to be integrated into whole school priorities and strategies within a context that supports inclusion.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2018