Vol. 3, Issue 2, November 2011

  1. The neglected shadow: European perspectives on emotional supports for early school leaving prevention
    Paul Downes
    pp. 3 - 36
    OECD reports emphasise ten key steps to equity in education, with concrete targets related to low attainment and early school leaving. Such steps, however, neglect the importance of emotional dimensions to early school leaving and the consequent need for system level emotional supports. The current study involves qualitative research interviews with senior government officials and secondary school management representatives across eight European countries, with a particular focus on school climate and emotional support issues. Issues raised by interviewees for students at risk of early school leaving include supports for withdrawn children, for those at risk of suicide and those being bullied at school affecting their nonattendance. Other emerging themes include alternatives to suspension and teacher education for improving their conflict resolution skills. Some interviewees explicitly observe the dearth of emotional support services available in practice in their countries. The pervasive policy gaps across national levels for a mental health and emotional support strategy, as part of an early school leaving prevention strategy, requires serious and immediate attention.

  2. Whole-school mental health promotion in Australia
    Phillip T. Slee, Katherine Dix and Helen Askell-Williams
    pp. 37 - 49
    Although there is increasing recognition internationally of the significance of social and emotional health and wellbeing for the healthy development of young people, the levels of support that governments provide for mental health policy and programme initiatives vary widely. In this paper, consideration is given to Australia's approach to mental health promotion from early years to secondary school, including specific reference to the KidsMatter Primary mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative. Although it is now well established that schools provide important settings for the promotion of mental health initiatives, there are significant challenges faced in effectively implementing and maintaining the delivery of evidence-based practice in school settings, including concerns about quality assurance in processes of implementation, translation, dissemination and evaluation.

  3. Coping with the emotional impact of bullying and cyberbullying: How research can inform practice
    Helen Cowie
    pp. 50 - 56
    Despite more than two decades of anti-bullying initiatives in schools, children and young people regularly mention relationships within the peer group as the major factor that causes them to feel unsafe at school. The situation is complicated by the fact that these interpersonal safety issues are actually generated by the peer group and often in contexts that are difficult for adults to control. The recent upsurge of cyberbullying is a case in point. Teachers and parents often feel powerless to intervene in the private world that children and young people create for themselves. This article explores the strategies that are commonly recommended for dealing with cyberbullying and examines what research tells us about their effectiveness. The conclusion is that, whatever the value of technological tools for tackling cyberbullying, we cannot avoid the fact that this is also an interpersonal problem. The implication for practice is that we already know many approaches for preventing and reducing cyberbullying and should build on this knowledge rather than treating the issue as something completely new.