Crime, anti-social behaviour and schools — key themes

Denise Martin, Peter Squires, Dawn E. Stephen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


How children and young people behave in and around schools is an issue of enduring public and policy interest. Most people are likely to have a view on the matter, including a view about whether the behaviour of young people is changing (Hayden, 2010). Educationalists and criminologists have a different, but overlapping, concern in this respect. For educationalists the main focus is on ‘pupil’ behaviour and whether it gets in the way of other pupils’ learning and teachers doing the job of teaching (as the above quotation illustrates). Government enquiries (DES/WO, 1989) and reviews (Steer, 2009), as well as most academic education research in the United Kingdom on behaviour in school concludes that it is the low-level disruption and general rudeness that saps the energy of teachers and gets in the way of children learning (Hayden, 2009). Criminologists, by definition, generally focus on the most problematic behaviour, which may be seen as ‘anti-social’ or is clearly ‘criminal’ (in the sense that it breaks the law). For criminologists (and criminal justice agencies), schools are often the site on which data are collected from young people (see, for example, Smith and McVie, 2003; MORI, 2005; YJB, 2009a, b), with the focus being on victimisation and offending. However, since the late 1990s schools have explicitly become part of a wider crime prevention project, in which the psychological discourse of ‘risk’ and ‘protective’ factors is liberally used as justification for a range of interventions focused on pupil behaviour. The interests of educationalists and criminologists now overlap more explicitly than previously in the United Kingdom. At the same time, this difference in disciplinary focus inevitably means some tension in how the two disciplines construct the problem and the language they use to do this (Hayden, 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCrime, anti-social behaviour and schools
EditorsCarol Hayden, Denise Martin
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780230306295
ISBN (Print)9781349317646, 9780230241978
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Young people
  • Problem behaviour
  • Criminal justice
  • Restorative justice
  • Hate crime


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