Positive behaviour in the early years: research report

Report of research into perceptions of staff, service providers and parents in managing and promoting positive behaviour in early years and early primary settings.


Our project team would like to extend thanks to all parents and early educators who found time to complete the measures we provided, and who were willing to participate in interviews and focus groups towards the case studies. Without their interest and commitment it would not have been possible to explore the perceptions of children's positive behaviour held by parents, practitioners and service providers, and the strategies they used in managing and promoting positive behaviour in early years and early primary settings.

Throughout the project we have had the diligent support of our Research Assistant, Colleen Clinton, our statistician, Russell Ecob, and our full academic team. The coding process was undertaken by Rosie Crerar, Toby Floyer, Shivaani Kapoor, James Marwick, Robbie Marwick and Alex Reece: together they teased out a structure by which to interpret written comments. Data entry was undertaken by Lindata, with interpretative support from the team.

Early input from Professor Ferre Laevers on children's well-being and involvement gave the project a very positive start, subsequently his role as critical friend has been invaluable.

The two local authorities involved, Edinburgh and North Lanarkshire, provided introductions to participant settings, facilitated staff involvement in the introductory conferences and follow-up sessions and met with us to discuss issues and progress: thank you.

Finally our thanks to Helen Berry who supported the project and smoothed the whole process.

The views expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Government.

Authors' notes

In the interest of confidentiality we have renamed settings on a numerical basis - 39 main study settings completed a range of measures. Nine of these settings contributed to the case study process. Additionally two further settings were approached to hold one-off focus groups and interviews as this enabled access to a group of 'hard to reach' families. For the purposes of the report we have given each setting an identifier in the 1 to 41 range.

In order to distinguish between information gathered from parents and from staff we followed the Strengths and Difficulties Measures in which the terms 'teacher' and 'parent' are used. Accordingly data gathered from a range of instruments is described as parent data and teacher data. Teacher data therefore can be understood to include data from all early childhood staff, however qualified.

Most of our analysis is based on the final merged parent and teacher files which contain the core number of cases for which we have complete returns across measures. Some analysis, for example child well-being and involvement, is presented on a basis of the full within measure data: the number of returns measure by measure is higher than the final merged data set which represents the number of complete cases. In terms of the parent data, the number of complete cases is 603. In terms of the child level data collected by staff the number of complete common cases varies from 1004 - 1231 depending on the combination of measure. It should be noted that numbers of cases sometimes vary due to incomplete data on a few control variables.

Back to top