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Title: An action inquiry into bullying, name calling and tolerance in a Sheffield primary school
Author: Jenkinson, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3590 1237
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 1997
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The Government does not intend to legislate against bullying in schools but the DfE supported and funded an anti-bullying project in Sheffield from 1991 until 1993. Since then, with less support from Local Education Authorities [LEAs] schools and governors are being left to deal with the problem. Despite the threat of legal proceedings and an increased number of claims against individual schools, some still do little or nothing to counter bullying. A recent claim by a victim led a school to pay him £30,000 damages but without liability. Experts agree that every school in Britain is affected in some way by bullying. A few teachers are bullies. In legal terms the authority of teachers to physically separate pupils who fight and bully is vague. Unless there is a dramatic change in the Government view, many more schools will succumb to legal claims about bullying. As yet, there is no case law. Baden Road School was part of a Sheffield Project and results in 1992 indicated that bullying among pupils was getting worse. Unfortunately, bullying among pupils is usually covert and tends not to affect teachers in the same way that disruptive behaviour does. Despite the introduction of an anti-bullying policy little was done by the school to alter the trend. Curriculum has been at the forefront of planning and evaluation in school and the issue of bullying has failed to be reviewed. Teachers were already burdened trying to implement the 1991 National Curriculum orders when, with Government pressure to cut costs, the LEA closed a local primary school and class sizes increased by at least 10%.In the same year the junior school amalgamated with the infants to form Baden Road Primary School with a 3+ to 10+ age range and where the number more than doubled from 220 to over 500 pupils. In a second attempt to persuade the school that something must be done about bullying, case study was a useful way to collect more evidence. While experts cannot agree on a standard definition of bullying, as children are the real experts of what happens, the pupils at Baden Road School found the task easy providing a basis for other data about bullying to be analysed. The case study then gave rise to action research which examined closely appropriate preventative and interventionist methods. Name-calling emerged as the most common form of non-physical bullying in school. Language was found to be critical as a way by which children determine who is bullied and who is not and as a solution to bullying behaviour. While the language used by Baden Road pupils is not representative of any other school it served to demonstrate connections between teasing, bullying, toleration and their effect on pupils. A model hypothesis arose from the question of what determines offensive and tolerable name-calling. The evidence suggests that Baden Road School needs to change to planned routine ways of preventing bullying and intervening in the cases which develop. First though, teachers have to believe that the issue of bullying needs reviewing and evaluating. The success of this study is in the effect it has on facilitating any changes which will promote further awareness, a permanent anti-bullying ethos and better uniform ways victims and bullies are helped in school. Teacher support, as in any school, is critical to the degree of success or failure of this initiative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training