Transforming school cultures
This project involves a youth-led initiative to change the peer and school cultures and climates that underpin abusive and harmful practices and behaviours in schools.
As an embedded researcher in a Surrey secondary school in November 2018, Dr Emily Setty identified issues relating to bullying; social shaming, policing, judgement and division; gender and sexual inequalities; risky and harmful sexual and relational practices; and an over-arching ‘anti-snitch’ culture that inhibits reporting and positive models of bystander intervention.
This IAA project intends to generate change through formal interventions, education and informal mechanisms of peer-delivered/involved support and guidance. The aim is for the project to generate self-sustaining tools, resources, models and approaches that can be adopted by all schools in the UK.
Emily will hold workshops with staff from schools within the Surrey Local Education Authority, parents and young people, to take their insights and contributions at the beginning, middle and end of the project.
I graduated with a PhD in 2018 entitled 'Sexting ethics in youth digital culture: Risk, shame and the negotiation of privacy and consent' - a qualitative exploration of young people's experiences of risk and harm in their sexting cultures. I also have an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a BSc in Psychology.
Before being appointed a lecturer at the University of Study, I commenced an ethnographic study of young people's digital, sexual and relational cultures in a co-educational independent boarding school. I subsequently worked with a team of young people and experts from the School of Sexuality Education and Fumble to co-create resources for schools about how Relationships and Sex Education can transform school and peer cultures, and received funding via the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account to undertake this work (https://transformingschoolculture.wordpress.com/).
I am also currently working on the following projects investigating:
- the impact of lockdown on digital intimacies among young people, along with Dr Emma Dobson at the University of Durham (funded via the BA/Leverhulme Small Grants Scheme);
- young people's use of digital media over lockdown and experiences of online harms, in a partnership project with Digital Awareness UK (funded via a University of Surrey Innovation Voucher);
- young people's conceptualizations and experiences of 'online transgressions', along with collaborators from the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, the Open University, and Young Minds (funded via eNurture's UKRI funding scheme);
- an evaluation and product development with Life Lessons pilot Relationships and Sex Education programme in schools;
- parents’ perspectives on sex and relationships education in the home in partnership with Outspoken Sex Ed;
- perspectives on RSE among young people involved in harmful online sexual behaviours, in partnership with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation; and models for schools in dealing with sexual harassment and abuse following #EveryonesInvited, also with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (funded by KPMG).
I have also recently led a Department for Education review on Harmful Sexual Behaviours among young people in schools and colleges.
I previously worked as a researcher for Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, on a project exploring vulnerability and accessible justice in the courts; a researcher for Catch22 exploring gang crime and youth violence; and a Fast-Stream Researcher for the Ministry of Justice.
My primary research interests concern young people's behaviours and experiences within their youth sexual and relational cultures. I am a member of the following research groups at the University of Surrey: 'Digital Societies', 'Sex, Gender and Sexualities', Families and the Lifecourse’ and 'Criminology'.
Success will be evidenced by an established high-quality set of resources (the online resource, toolkit, infographic and train-the-trainer model) which will be adaptable for use by other schools.
Through consulting with the School of Sexuality Education and Fumble, Emily hopes to understand how to empower staff to recognise their role in school cultures and climates, and how to generate change in staff attitudes and behaviours that contribute to harm.
The resulting toolkit will, therefore, include guidance on how to equip staff with the skills and attributes required to positively contribute to school cultures and climates, and to deliver meaningful Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) and other forms of education and intervention.
Emily will be collaborating both with expert consultants to ensure the solutions are impactful and widely applicable. The project also meets wider ESRC strategic aims in terms of stakeholder engagement, co-design and ensuring that research meets the needs of society.
Impact Acceleration Account awarded projects
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