What were the main aims of the initiative?

This example focuses on school improvement through teacher development and examination of the school’s routines and procedures. The aim is to create a safe and learning enriched environment based on mutual respect and trust. The authoritative teacher with a firm and at the same time warm relationship to all students is aware of the need to develop collective norms in class that promote the students’ health, wellbeing and learning. A clear and steady anti-bullying programme in class and school is part of this work. Respect, support and commitment among all staff are needed, together with the involvement of parents and students.

The aims are to develop:

  • healthy and inclusive schools that do not accept bullying, where staff are skilled in classroom management and building professional relations with students and are able to react firmly and with respect and competence when rules are broken.
  • schools, where all staff members care about each other, the students and their parents.
  • a whole school commitment.


Location, setting, Scope, key events etc.

The Centre for Behavioural Research (CBR) is a national competence centre located at the University in Stavanger, Norway. There are 27 employees at the centre, 13 with a doctoral degree and 6 doctoral students. We do research, teach at teacher education programmes and work with schools to promote development, mainly through our two programmes, Zero and Respect.


What issues/challenges does the example address?

1. Bullying. Zero is an anti-bullying programme offered to schools. Anti-bullying efforts contain prevention, uncovering bullying and stopping bullying. Following 16 months of teacher development and reviewing and improving routines in school with support, the schools are supposed to continue this systematic work on their own. During the programme period they take part in lectures, seminars, discussions in staff, meetings with parents, practical training and measures in class, school yard and halls. The teachers start to wear reflective vests while inspecting during breaks and receive different kinds of material to study and use. The schools involved have a supervisor who follows them in the work and from whom they can seek help. Bullying is surveyed before they attend the programme and after one year. The schools are offered the chance to continue the surveys yearly after the programme ends.

2. Bullying, disrespectful behaviour, emotional problems and work with challenging group behaviour. The Respect programme lasts for 2.5 years and is a school development programme that requires strong commitment and a lot of work. All staff attend 6 days of training and the teachers are supposed to discuss with colleagues and carry out measurements in their classroom during the programme. The authoritative teacher role is a core element that runs through all the work. The schools receive materials for use in the programme and also in this programme they start to wear reflective vests while inspecting during breaks. The schools involved also have a supervisor who follows the work and provides support on request. The school climate is surveyed before the programme starts, after one year and after the second year. Both students and teachers fill in questionnaires.



How was the Initiative implemented?

CBR has, since 1989, conducted research and been engaged in teacher development. The anti-bullying work has been a main focus for this centre since the start. Our own and the international research on bullying has been important for the development of both the Zero and the Respect programmes, together with research on classroom management and the class as a social system. Moreover, research on school development and programme implementation has added to the knowledge base and is important for how we think and carry out the work with the schools.

The schools apply for participation in the initiative and are put together in geographical clusters. Project groups from the schools in the same cluster meet at seminars and often share the same supervisor in the programme. At the seminars they report the work they have done and share experiences with the other schools. There are meetings with the school leadership to focus on their role as leaders in this implementation process.

At national level the Educational Directorate supports the programmes. Compulsory schools in Norway are owned by the municipalities. The municipalities are partners in the implementation. This includes the School Psychology Service which is important during the programme and even more after the programme period has ended. At their meetings with the schools they can seek information about how the schools are working and support them in their work.

The Zero programme started in 2003 and still takes in new schools each year. 370 schools have now (2011) carried out the programme.

The Respect programme started as EU-project “UK-001: Tackling violence in School”. The programme, developed by the CBR, was first called Connect and changed its name to Respect some years later. To date, 70 schools have carried out this programme.

KEY OUTCOMES & Lessons Learned

What where the key Outcomes? What impact/added value did they prove? What were the biggest challenges?

Both the Zero and the Respect programmes have proved to be able to improve the learning climate – to be more inclusive. The biggest challenge is the implementation. Turnover, absence, time pressure, lack of commitment among staff and school leaders without power to lead the school through the changes needed, make implementation difficult.

Lessons learned: There is too little knowledge of the implementation process. The leadership in particular needs to know how to lead such a process and to make sure that the commitment is in place among the staff members.


Has the initiative been evaluated or are there plans for this in the future?

The following references provide information on evaluation.

Ertesvåg, S.K. & Vaaland, G.S. (2007) Prevention and Reduction of Behavioural Problems in School: A pilot Evaluation of the Respect programme. Educational Psychology, 27,6, 713-736.

Ertesvåg, S.K. (2009) Classroom leadership. The effect of a school development programme. Educational Psychology, 29,5, 515-539.

Ertesvåg, S.K., Roland, P., Vaaland, G.S., Størksen, S.& Veland, J. (2010) The Challenge of Continuation –Schools’ continuation of the Respect programme. Journal of Educational Change, 11, 4. 323-344

Midthassel, U.V. Bru, E. & Idsøe, T (2008). Is the sustainability of reduction in bullying related to follow-up procedures? Educational Psychology, 28 (1) 83-95.

Midthassel, U.V. & Ertesvåg, S. (2008). Schools implementing Zero. The process of implementation an anti-bullying programme in six Norwegian schools. Journal of Educational Change 2008,9 (2), 153-172.

Roland, E., Bru, E., Midthassel, U.V. & Vaaland, G.S. (2010). Anti-bullying efforts in Norway 2001-2004: Effects of the National Manifesto and the Zero programme. Social Psychology of Education, 13(1), 41-55.


Have any plans been made for future direction of the initiative?

Both the Zero- and the Respect programmes are now being revised according to experience gained during implementation and in accordance with new research based evidence. The CBR will continue to offer the programmes to schools. Some of the material from the Zero-programme is translated to English and can be downloaded for free from our web site In addition the same material is being translated to Spanish and will be placed on our web site when the work is finished.



Are there further information about supporting materials?

No information provided


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Ms Unni Vere Midthassel,

Director of the Centre for Behavioural Research, University of Stavanger, Norway.

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