The class struggle : a study of disruption in schools in the Aberdeen area
This study reviews the conventional wisdoms of home and school being the main causal factors of disruption in schools, by researching the views and perceptions of pupils, teachers and parents with regard to disruptive behaviour. The 67 primary and 15 secondary schools of Aberdeen city were selected because they provided a large sample population covering the full socio-economic spectrum. From these schools 1776 P7 and 1303 S2 pupils were surveyed by questionnaire for their perception of themselves, school and home background. The propensity of these pupils for disruption was measured by teacher questionnaire. Separately all schools provided information on their behavioural policies and their view of disruption. Two socially contrasting areas, including 2 secondary and 7 primary schools, were selected for research on the standards of pupil behaviour. From these schools 724 parents of pupils from P1, P7, S1 and S3 were surveyed by questionnaire for their views on parental/school liaison. The exclusion record for all schools was examined and a sample of 10 excluded pupils were surveyed by questionnaire and interview. Exclusion rates and measurement of pupil behaviour showed that disruption had increased during 1983 to 1989 particularly amongst boys. The results from the pupil survey indicated a close relationship between pupil self-esteem and their perception of home, school, themselves and disruption. Significant variations of the standard of pupil behaviour according to their year group were also evident. These extend previous findings by showing the importance of home, school and pupil characteristics in influencing disruption. Thus it is suggested that inter-related multi-causal factors lead to disruption in school. These factors provide a key to the earlier prediction of pupils with a potential for disruption and demonstrate the need for improved parental/school liaison. Finally, recommendations for future research and policy development are summarised.