A REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE IN E NGLAND 1
CAROL HAYDEN, INSTITUTE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
The article outlines the nature and development of the debate about deviance and violence in schools in England. It explains disciplinary differences in the use of terminology. The focus is on summarising the most recent evidence about the nature and extent of these issues. Policy and practice developments targeted at reducing problem behaviour in and around schools are discussed. The article concludes that there is a great deal of survey and monitoring data in England but a relative lack of in-depth and ethnographic research.
England, deviance and violence, schools
The focus is on England, rather than Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) or the United Kingdom (which includes Northern Ireland). Although the four countries have the same government there is a degree of devolution of power that means that there are important differences in the way that the education systems are run, as well as differences in legal governance. The central government Department for Children Families and Schools (DCSF) covers England and Wales only. A few references include evidence from Wales, as well as England; there is one reference to an important longitudinal survey carried out in Scotland.
International Journal of Violence and School – 9 – September 2009
BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
FOCUS AND APPROACH OF THE REVIEW
This review is focused on England and on the most recent research and developments, referring to older research and reports only when they are considered to be landmark or seminal studies. As shorthand this paper will at times refer to ‘problem behaviour’ when not specifically referring to criminal behaviour (that is behaviour that breaks the criminal law) or specific types of behaviour that are clearly defined in research, as in the concept of bullying. The approach taken in this review is inter-disciplinary, but it is most centrally informed by criminology, social policy and education research. The move to Children’s Departments in England in recent years has meant that a more inter-disciplinary approach is increasingly appropriate and particularly in relation to the focus of this review. It is acknowledged that there are mental health issues that may relate to the behaviour of young people in schools (Cowie et al, 2004) but this is not the main focus of this review. There is a great deal of research (Gillborn, 2008) as well as government monitoring data on ethnicity and schools (see for example, DfES, 2006). Monitoring gender and special educational need is an aspect of various annual national reports on schools and the educational system (see the www.dcsf.gov.uk for a range of relevant reports). Research on gender (Osler et al, 2001) and special educational need (Visser et al, 2001) is also plentiful. These are all highly complex issues that cannot be covered adequately in a single review. The review was undertaken by updating existing reviews and collections (see for example Debarbieux and Blaya, 2001) on the subject of violence and various forms of ‘behaviour’ problems in schools in England (see relevant concepts and terminology in Figure 1). The social science bibliographic database ‘Assia’ was searched in order to located the most up-to-date published research. Research commissioned and published by the relevant government departments was located through their websites; as was that commissioned by the largest teaching unions.
The terminology used in England is quite complex and inevitably influenced by disciplinary, professional and political perspectives. ‘Deviance’ as a concept is strongly associated with criminology but is also recognised as including non-criminal infringements of social norms. ‘Deviance’ as a concept, in both popular and academic discourse in England, has been replaced to a large extent...