Violence, mental health and the British school child: from theory to practice in an era of war, peace and social change, 1944-1980

Year of award: 2015


  • Andrew Burchell

    University of Warwick

Project summary

The project will examine thought and practice on the relationship between violence and children in primary and secondary state education in England from 1944 until 1980. I will explore the connections between theory and practice and the ways in which psychological ideas were mediated by those involved in the debate about violence in schools. 

I will also consider whether the Second World War affected thinking about children as well as examining the effect of the new tripartite education system and its post-war extension of secondary education for all children. I will consider the differences in what a range of professionals thought about this subject, particularly psychologists and teachers, but also social workers, parents, and popular commentators. The project will trace differences in practice according to age, gender, class and ethnicity, and explore the effect of ideas about moral decline associated with the permissive society that was illustrated by the alarm during the 1950s about the existence of a ‘blackboard jungle’.