Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
The Incredible Years (IY) Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) course may enhance teachers' skills in promoting socio-emotional well-being among their pupils. Disruptive behaviour is a common source of stress among teachers, and a common reason for many leaving the profession. Poor socio-emotional adjustment in childhood may affect mental health and academic attainment and can adversely impact on life chances of all the children in a classroom, particularly children living in deprived circumstances. We will study whether delivering TCM to primary school teachers leads to improvement in children's socio-emotional skills and academic achievement. If effective, TCM could transform the classroom from an environment where many children currently struggle to cope, particularly boys from low socio-economic backgrounds, into one where many more children can thrive. Enhancing teachers' skills potentially benefits all children that come into contact with that teacher over subsequent years, so TCM may be a particularly cost-effective way to assist the most vulnerable children in our society.
The Supporting Teachers And childRen in Schools (STARS) study will test whether a teacher attending the TCM course will improve:
The child's socio-emotional well-being
The child's academic attainment
The teachers' emotional well-being
The teacher's belief that they are able to manage the behaviour in the classroom more effectively and feel less stressed
Who can participate?
Primary schools in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay will take part in the study, and the study will involve one teacher, their class and their parents. The study will work with teachers of Reception to Year 4, which means that the children will be aged 4-9 years at recruitment.
What does the study involve?
The research will take place in 80 primary schools in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. One teacher from each school will take part in the study. Teachers will be randomly allocated to the intervention group and attend the TCM course or the control group and teach as usual. Control teachers will be able to attend the TCM course in the following academic year when they have a new class of children. TCM involves six one-day group sessions spread over six months with ten teachers in each group. The sessions will be led by behavioural support teachers trained to deliver TCM. We will measure socio-emotional well-being using a well-known and highly tested questionnaire - the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The SDQ will be completed by teachers and the parents of all their pupils before and after the TCM course, and at one and two years after that. We will focus on teacher reports as we expect to collect more complete data from teachers, but we will also ask parents to give their view on the socio-emotional well-being of the child. Academic progress will be measured using the National Curriculum standard levels used routinely in all state schools and we will check these scores against detailed literacy/numeracy assessments in some children. We will also measure teachers' sense of effectiveness as a teacher, whether they feel 'burnt-out' and their emotional well-being to see if the course leaves teachers feeling more confident, motivated and less stressed. We will use a mixture of focus groups and interviews to find out from teachers, head teachers and special educational needs coordinators (SENCos) how useful they think TCM is, whether they use it in their practice and/or schools, and how it fits with other sources of support for emotional and behavioural difficulties. We will speak to them shortly after they attend the course and a year later. Using questionnaires completed by parents and SENCos, backed up by detailed interviews with some parents, we will find out about additional help used by families concerning their child's well being. This will try and identify any cost-savings that TCM might produce by reducing demands on educational support and mental health services.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Teachers will attend six days of high quality training in classroom behaviour management, a topic of great importance to schools. We have already delivered the TCM course to 40 teachers in smaller studies to prepare for the STARS study. These teachers said that they found the course extremely useful and highly relevant to their everyday teaching practice. An issue could potentially arise if a teacher feels that being suggested to attend the course is a criticism of their teaching practice or they may feel coerced to attend. However, this was discussed with the teachers who have already attended the course and many said that they were encouraged to go on the course by their Headteachers but none were coerced in any way. The study will pay for supply teacher cover to enable the teacher to attend the course and complete questionnaires, as we know that many schools would find it very difficult to pay for this themselves.
Where is the study run from?
This study is led by a team from the Child Health Group of the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study will start in September 2012 and will recruit schools over a three year period. Each school will take part for three academic years. Consequently, the study will run for five years in total.
Who is funding the study?
This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, UK
Who is the main contact?
Dr Tamsin Ford
Dr Tamsin Ford
Peninsula College of medicine and Dentistry
The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management programme in primary school children: a cluster randomised controlled trial with parallel economic and process evaluations
Teacher attendance at the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management course, when compared with teaching as usual, will lead to an improvement in child behaviour and child academic attainment among children aged 4-9 years and an improvement in teacher mental health and sense of professional efficacy.
Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry Ethics Committee, 01/03/12, ref: 12/03/141
Single-centre cluster randomised controlled trial with parallel process and economic evaluations
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Cluster randomised trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Intervention group: The Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) programme, the teacher will attend a one-day session per month over six months
Control group: Teaching as usual
Primary outcome measure
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire - teacher and parent rated at baseline, 8 months, 18 months and 30 months
Secondary outcome measures
Teacher rated measures:
1. Assessments of Pupil Progress
2. Adapted Pupil Behaviour Questionnaire
3. Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale
4. Maslach Burnout Inventory- General Survey
5. Everyday Feeling Questionnaire
Child completed measure:
How I Feel About My School
Observer rated measures:
1. Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT II)
2. Teacher-Pupil Observation Tool (TPOT)
Economic Evaluation measures:
Child and Adolescent Service Use Schedule (CA-SUS) self report questionnaire
All measures recorded at baseline, 8 months, 18 months and 30 months with the exception of WIAT II which is recorded on one occasion with subsample, TPOT at baseline and 8 months with subsample, CA-SUS interview with subsample at 18 months and 30 months.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Teachers, parents and children in primary, state run, mainstream schools in Devon, Torbay or Plymouth with at least one single year group class of 15 or more pupils in Reception or Years 1-4. This will provide a sample of children aged 4-9 years at recruitment.
2. The nominated teacher must have classroom responsibility for a single year group class for a minimum of four days per week
Target number of participants
80 schools incorporating: 80 headteachers, 80 teachers and approximately 1600 children and parents
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Schools that have only mixed year group classes
2. All classes have fewer than 15 children
3. Are under 'special measures', are privately funded or are without a substantive head teacher
4. Teachers on contracts of less than three years
5. Children with so little use of spoken English that they are unable to complete the measures, even with support
6. Children whose parent(s) do not have a sufficient use of English to enable them to give consent for their child to participate or answer questionnaires, even with assistance
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Public Health Research Programme ref: 10/3006/07
NIHR Public Health Research Programme, PHR
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)
Ford T, Edwards V, Sharkey S, Ukoumunne OC, Byford S, Norwich B, Logan S, Supporting teachers and children in schools: the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years teacher classroom management programme in primary school children: a cluster randomised controlled trial, with parallel economic and process evaluations., BMC Public Health, 2012, 12, 719, doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-719.
Hansford L, Sharkey S, Edwards V, Ukoumunne O, Byford S, Norwich B, Logan S, Ford T, Understanding influences on teachers' uptake and use of behaviour management strategies within the STARS trial: process evaluation protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMC Public Health, 2015, 15, 1486, doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1486-y.