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Evaluating a whole school approach to emotional health in an area of high deprivation

Project Description

The goal of the Family Links whole-school approach to social and emotional learning, wellbeing and mental health is underpinned by its Nurturing Programme and workshops based on this. These programmes are for school staff, students and parents, with the aim of building and sustaining the emotional health and resilience of schools and their wider community. This project will involve four schools, a military base and a volunteer-led children’s centre in a small geographic area of extreme deprivation. During the course of the project, Family Links will work with staff, students and parents, ensuring a genuinely comprehensive and joined-up approach to supporting emotional health. The PhD student will be responsible for undertaking an evaluation of the project using a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Research questions will focus on evaluating the immediate and longer-term impact of embedding a whole school approach to emotional health and wellbeing on the school culture, staff, parents and pupils. Possible outcomes that may be investigated include wellbeing, relationship quality, behaviour and parental engagement.

To discuss the details of this PhD project further, please contact Dr Kathryn Lester and Professor Alison Pike ()

• This award will only pay fees at the Home/EU rate.
• Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline.
• Only full time students will be accepted
• The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity, equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background.

Application Procedure:
• Please submit your application online at for the ’PhD in Psychology’ programme for September 2020.
o In the ’Supervisor suggested by applicant’ section of your application form, please put ‘Dr Kathryn Lester/Professor Alison Pike’ as the name of supervisor(s)
o In the ’Proposed source of funding’ section of your application form, please put ‘Joint funded Psychology and Family Links Doctoral Studentship’
• Please read our Psychology PhD FAQS at before you start your application.

Candidates should provide:
o A research proposal that outlines your knowledge of the research area, hypotheses that could be addressed in your PhD, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references, be set at minimum 10-font type with margins a minimum of 1cm.
o Current degree transcript(s) with full details of performance on all completed courses.
o Two academic references.
o An up-to-date CV.


Application deadline: 25th March 2020
Interviews: 15th April
Decision: 17th April

Funding Notes

You will be awarded a stipend for 3 years (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £15,009 p.a.). UK/EU PhD fees and research/training costs are also covered.


Research lies at the heart of the School of Psychology. Our cutting-edge research aims to enhance understanding and provide innovative approaches to key psychological challenges and issues. We are engaged in research across the broad range of the discipline.

The School of Psychology is one of the largest centres for the study of psychology in the UK. We have over 50 academic faculty, approximately 80 research students and more than 100 postgraduate students taking Master's degrees. Our undergraduate intake is over 500 a year, which gives us an academic community of well over 1000 people working in a rich and supportive learning environment.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Sussex in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 41.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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