From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

SEED development and pilot

A team at the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, the Universities of Stirling, Glasgow and Strathclyde, and educational psychologists in Dundee and Glasgow have designed a programme to promote emotional and social wellbeing among Scottish primary school children, called Social and Emotional Education and Development (SEED). Before rigorously evaluating the SEED programme we tested and refined elements of it in four primary schools in Glasgow.

The pilots aims were to:

(a) explore how useful the proposed programme would be for these schools and how it could be improved, and

(b) test the feasibility of methods for the planned evaluation.

In each school this involved four separate stages:

1. In-depth interviews with the head teacher, a P2 teacher and a P6 teacher, and a group discussion with a range of classroom teachers from P1-P7, in order to get views on current policy and practice for promoting social and emotional wellbeing and how best to implement the SEED programme to maximize benefit for the school and pupils.

2. Administering a series of questionnaires to assess school and pupil needs, including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire among P1 and P5 children. This involved teachers completing questionnaires on behalf of the P1 children while the P5 children completed them themselves.

3. With an educational psychologist feeding back the results of these questionnaires to staff and facilitating their choice of initiatives to help address the needs highlighted.

4. Conducting a further group discussion with the same teachers and re-interviewing the head teacher to get their views on participation in the pilot, including the usefulness and practicality of the programme.

This pilot research was crucial in informing how the SEED programme was refined and shaping the methods by which it is being evaluated in the main trial.