Towards the victimless school: Power, professionalism and probity in teaching

Erica McWilliam*, Judyth Sachs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues the importance of moving beyond the state of affairs that makes victims either of children or of teachers by exploring the conditions of possibility for the idea of a victimless school. The argument is developed drawing data from a study being conducted by the authors into the impact of risk management on teacher work and identity in a number of Australian primary schools (McWilliam, Singh & Sachs, 2002 Managing Risk in Primary Schools: Teacher's professional Identity and Work Practices, ARC Discovery Project Funded by the Australian Research Council). The argument put is that risk minimisation as a system of management and surveillance (including self-surveillance) is producing some effects (whether intended or not) that are counterproductive for teachers and, indeed, for children, the very group they are purported to protect. In order to counter the more pernicious effects of this logic, teachers need actively to engage in seeking ways to optimise child protection and staff protection simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-30
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Research for Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Child abuse
  • Child protection policy
  • Professionalism
  • Risk management
  • Safe touch
  • Staff protection policy
  • Surveillance
  • Teaching


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