A Study on the Long-term Effects of a Restorative Whole-school Approach to Reducing Bullying in Schools

Project: Research

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With school bullying on the rise, researchers have been looking for effective strategies to reduce the negative and disruptive effects of school bullying. In 2004, a research grant was granted to the PI and his team to develop a whole-school model and evaluate its effectiveness for tackling school bullying in four secondary schools. The project was pioneering and exploratory in nature and was completed in 2006. The effectiveness of the whole-school model was examined in a quasi-experimental design. Over a period of fifteen months, the findings suggested a significant reduction of bullying behavior in the intervention group (adopting whole-school model) as compared with that in the control group. However, no significant changes in most of the measured domains were observed in the two other schools which have moderately implemented the whole-school model.In recent years, to comprehensively tackle the problems of bullying, an innovative strategy is proposed - the Restorative Whole-School Model (RWsM). Taking restorative ideas and whole-school intervention tactics together, the RWsM calls for the involvement of all major parties, notably teachers, bullies, victims, by-standers, and parents, to build up a restorative learning environment, and tackle risk factors that lead to bullying. The model focuses on building a long-term positive school environment to prevent bullying. Instead of applying rigid legal procedures to punish bullies, bullies should be appropriately shamed and held accountable to their wrong doings through a human and voluntary informal process, while making reparations to the victim.Against this background, this study aims to refine the previous developed whole-school approach by adding restorative elements to it and to conduct a longitudinal study with a larger sample of schools to investigate the effect of the “Restorative Whole-school Model” (RWsM). Over a period of 42 months and across 6 schools, the effectiveness of the model will be evaluated by comparing results among schools from the intervention group (which receive full implementation of the RWsM), the partial intervention group (which do not receive the full treatment), and the control group (which receive no intervention at all). It is expected that schools of the intervention group will have reduced bullying behavior, increased caring behavior, higher empathic attitudes and higher sense of school harmony. With a longer period of investigation, the research team can delineate the causal effects of bullying more clearly and monitor the effectiveness over an extended period of time.


Project number9041517
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1026/09/13