Childhood maltreatment: developing a child protection training programme for student educators

  • Bronagh McKee

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    During school-based work and placement experiences, student educators come into contact with children and young people on an almost daily basis. Government guidance dictates that they must contribute to child protection. However, little is known about the preparation they receive for this significant role in Northern Ireland and current policy regarding child protection training in undergraduate curricula is unclear. This study had three main aims: to discover whether or not a pre-service child protection training programme would increase student educators childhood maltreatment knowledge, to consider the differentiated training needs of student groups and to ascertain the perspectives of student educators and experienced practitioners regarding pre-service child protection training. A theoretical analysis allowed for the development of the Child Protection Questionnaire for Educators (CPQE). This was then used to ‘test’ student educators child abuse and neglect knowledge prior to and following participation in the Pastoral Pathways Programme, a pre-service child protection training programme. The study used multi-method research procedures, in terms of combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, and the data collection methods consisted of child protection training Audit; CPQE; vignette; training programme; and focus groups. The research found that student educators significantly increased their child abuse and neglect knowledge following participation in the programme and that there is a need to differentiate training needs of student groups. There was evidence from the findings of an urgent need to develop pre-service child protection training in Northern Ireland. The study highlighted the need for an inclusive approach to the undergraduate curriculum to resolve child protection training inequalities and to develop integrated pre-service child protection training in order to contribute to child protection in Northern Ireland more effectively.

    Date of AwardJul 2010
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SupervisorKarola Dillenburger (Supervisor) & Leslie Caul (Supervisor)

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