Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Education)

Schools and Centres


First Supervisor

Associate Professor Boris Handal

Second Supervisor

Associate Professor Sandra Lynch

Third Supervisor

Ms Liz McKenna


This study explores the incidence and implications of bullying in primary school and the beliefs parents and educators share about the explicit application of a values based approach to bullying interventions and mediations. Interviews and focus group discussions explored current anti-bullying practices employed by teachers and principals. The study also examined specific values perceived to be relevant by parents and educators, in the endeavour to successfully resolve the growing incidence of bullying conflict situations and the serious implications for both victims and bullies.

Individual interviews and focus group discussions were administered in three Catholic systemic primary schools to a sample group of principals, teachers and parents. This study examined the personal experiences and opinions of the participants, regarding current bullying interventions and the explicit teaching of relevant values, to achieve positive behaviour changes towards others to resolve these conflicts.

The data revealed that most participants approved of mediation between bully and victim, merged with the positive aspects of restorative approach, with accountability and imposition of consequences, as the preferred intervention. An explicit core values teaching approach to assist the bully to achieve positive behaviour changes towards others was a commonality in all data collected. Specific teacher training in dealing with bullying conflicts, to achieve consistency of practice, was a strong recommendation of the study.

Further research to determine the views of public and independent schools and the experiences and opinions of children directly involved in bullying conflict situations, would be beneficial for future studies, to gain a broader perspective on the preferred approach to dealing with bullying.

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