Transforming school cultures
This project involved 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 was awarded in order to generate change through formal interventions, education and informal mechanisms of peer-delivered/involved support and guidance. The aim was for the project to generate self-sustaining tools, resources, models and approaches that can be adopted by all schools in the UK.
Emily held 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.
I have since conducted extensive primary research with young people, typically about online sexual behaviours and online harms more broadly. Current projects include:
- the involvement of police in tackling harmful sexual behaviours in schools, along with Professor Jessica Ringrose, UCL, and Jonny Hunt, Bedfordshire (funded via the ESRC Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Police-Academic partnership grant);
- girls' and young women's negotiations of 'influencer culture' online (funded via the eNurture UKRI funding scheme)
- 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 conceptualisations 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);
- 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);
- educating teenage boys about sexual consent from the perspectives of boys and educators, in partnership with Life Lessons Education (funded via a University of Surrey Innovation Voucher); and,
- developing the training for University of Surrey sexual assault investigations and panel hearings (funded via an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account award).
Recently completed projects include:
- an evidence review on harmful sexual behaviour in schools for the Department for Education;
- young people's use of digital media and 'online harms' during lockdown, in partnership with Digital Awareness UK (funded via a University of Surrey Innovation Voucher);
- co-creation of resources for schools on how Relationships and Sex Education can 'transform school cultures', along with the School of Sexuality Education, Fumble, and a team of young people (funded via an ESRC Impact Acceleration Account award); and,
- an ethnographic study of young people's sexual and relationship cultures in a co-educational independent boarding school.
I regularly work with a range of frontline policy and practice organisations. I am an expert advisor for Life Lessons Education; Outspoken Sex Ed; It's happens... Let's talk about it; and the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. I have also consulted with a organisations including the Revenge Porn Helpline, the Child Exploitation and Online Command Centre, and NotYourPorn.
Success was to 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 hoped 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 was to 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 collaborated with expert consultants to ensure the solutions were impactful and widely applicable. The project also met 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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