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Schools under pressure: stress, coping and well-being among teachers, pupils and headteachers

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Roland Chaplain
Publication date2017
Number of pages427
Awarding Institution
Award date13/07/2017
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Stress among diverse members of school communities has received differing
levels of attention and research activity. Whilst teaching has been studied
extensively and is consistently recognised as one of the top three most stressful
occupations, stress among headteachers and pupils has received less attention
from researchers. This submission includes a critical review of the current state of
knowledge and research in respect of stress, coping and well-being in schools
(considering headteachers, teachers and pupils) and the significant original
contributions to the growth and development of knowledge in this field made by a
book, four chapters and four journal articles.

The corpus of the selected works is embedded in extensive research and project
work spanning more than twenty years, carried out with over 3200 adults and
pupils drawn from over 200 primary, secondary and special schools in the UK. As
the work was oriented toward solving practical problems in the “real world”
(Feilzer, 2010, p8), a pragmatic stance was a primary consideration for each of
the projects. Research designs adopted were varied, including methods drawn
from both quantitative and qualitative paradigms.

A dual process transactional model of stress and coping is presented as the
underlying framework for the studies. Results indicated that, despite the
differences in the role and status of the varied populations investigated and the
contrasting environments in which they operate, some consistencies were found
in terms of levels of stress resulting from the impact of; organisational factors;
interpersonal relationships; communication inconsistencies and daily hassles on
coping and well-being. These findings informed key elements of the behaviour
management training programme on the Postgraduate Certificate in Education
(PGCE) courses at the University of Cambridge, recognised as “excellent” and
“highly distinctive” by Ofsted (e.g. 2008, 2011), and have been incorporated into
the Teacher Training Agency guidelines for behaviour management training for
all teachers (TTA, 2012).