Prof Paul Downes

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Professor Paul Downes is Professor of Psychology of Education, and Director of the Educational Disadvantage Centre, Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland and Affiliate Professor, University of Malta, Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health. With over 110 peer reviewed publications in areas of education, psychology, sociology, philosophy, law, anthropology and social policy, he has given keynote lectures and invited presentations in 30 countries and for 16 countries’ official ministries. He has been involved in various expert advisory roles for the European Commission, including the Pathways to School Success Working Group, and European Education and Training Expert Panel to support the EU’s post-2020 Strategic Cooperation Framework. He has led and co-authored a range of monographs published by the EU Commission, including How to tackle bullying and prevent school violence in Europe: Evidence and practices for strategies for inclusive and safe schools (2016) and Strengthening social and emotional education as a core curricular area across the EU (2018). A contributor to Jimerson, SM. Swearer, and DL. Espelage (Eds.), Handbook of Bullying in Schools (Routledge 2009) on relational spaces in school systems, his book Reconstructing Agency in Developmental and Educational Psychology: Inclusive Systems as Concentric Space (Routledge 2020) was nominated for the American Psychological Association’s (APA) William James Book Award.


Cefai, C. Downes, P. Cavioni.,V. (2021). A formative, inclusive, whole school approach to the assessment of social and emotional education in the EU. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union/EU bookshop.

Downes, P. (2020) Reconstructing agency in developmental and educational psychology: Inclusive Systems as Concentric Space. New York/London/New Delhi: Routledge

Downes, P. & Cefai, C. (2016). How to tackle bullying and prevent school violence in Europe: Evidence and practices for strategies for inclusive and safe schools.

Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union/EU bookshop.

Cefai, C., Bartolo P. A., Cavioni. V., Downes, P. (2018). Strengthening Social and Emotional Education as a core curricular area across the EU: A review of the international evidence. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union/EU bookshop.

Journal Articles

Gilligan, C. & Downes, P. (2021). Reconfiguring Relational Space: A Qualitative

Study of the Benefits of Caring for Hens for the Socio-Emotional Development of 5 – 9-

year-old Children in an Urban Junior School context of High Socio-Economic Exclusion.

Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 21 DOI: 10.1080/14729679.2021.1894953

Downes, P. & Cefai, C. (2019). Strategic Clarity on Different Prevention Levels of School Bullying and Violence: Rethinking Peer Defenders and Selected Prevention. Journal of School Violence, 18 (4) 510-521

Downes, P. (2019). Transition as a displacement from more fundamental system concerns: Distinguishing four different meanings of transition in education. Educational

Philosophy and Theory 51 (14) 1465-1476  

Downes, P. (2018). An Emerging Paradigm of Structural Indicators to Examine System Supports for Children’s and Adolescents’ Education and Wellbeing. Child Indicators Research,  11,  1445–1464.

Downes, P. (2018). Postscript – The Emotional-Relational Turn for Early School Leaving Prevention: Building on The Neglected Shadow for Inclusive Systems in and around Schools. International Journal of Emotional Education, 10, 122-130.

 Downes, P. (2018). Beyond the ‘diminished self’: Challenging an array of objections to emotional well-being in education. International Journal of Emotional Education, 10, 4- 16

Foody, M., Downes, P., O’Higgins Norman, J. (2018). Anti-Bullying Procedures for Schools in Ireland: Principals Responses and Perceptions. Pastoral Care in Education 36 (2), 126-140

Downes, P. (2017). Reconceptualising foundational assumptions of resilience: A cross-cultural, spatial systems domain of relevance for agency and phenomenology in resilience. International Journal of Emotional Education, 9 (1) 99-120.

Downes, P. (2017). Conceptual Foundations of Inclusive Systems in and around Schools for Early School Leaving Prevention: An Emotional-Relational Focus. Psihološka istraživanja (Psychological Research: Serbia), 20 (1), 9-26.

Creighton, K. & Downes, P. (2017). A Phenomenology of ‘Blending in’: Beyond Emotional Regulation. Interpersona: International Journal on Personal Relationships 11 (2), 156-170.

Downes, P. (2017). Reconceptualising Schopenhauer’s Compassion through Diametric and Concentric Spatial Structures of Relation. Enrahonar: An International Journal of Theoretical and Practical Reason, 60, 81-98.

Downes, P. (2011). The neglected shadow: Some European perspectives on emotional supports for early school leaving prevention. International Journal of Emotional Education, 3 (2), 3-39.

Book Chapters

Downes, P. (2022). Framing Early School Leaving and Bullying Prevention as Issues of Concentric Inclusive Systems in a Global Context. In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems, (Eds. R.Baikady, S.M. Sajid, J. Przeperski, V. Nadesan, M. Rezaul Islam & G. Jianguo). London: Palgrave Macmillan

Downes, P. (2009). Prevention of Bullying at a Systemic Level in Schools: Movement from Cognitive and Spatial Narratives of Diametric Opposition to Concentric Relation. In Shane R. Jimerson, Susan M. Swearer, and Dorothy L. Espelage (Eds.), Handbook of Bullying in Schools: An International Perspective, (pp.517-533). New York: Routledge.

Commissioned Reports

Downes, P. (2004). Psychological support services for Ballyfermot: Present and future. Commissioned Research Report for European Union funded organisation, URBAN, Ballyfermot, in conjunction with Ballyfermot Drugs Task Force.

– Downes, P. (2004). Voices of Children: St. Raphaels Primary School, Ballyfermot. Commissioned Research Report for URBAN, Ballyfermot

+353 01 700 9245

Research Areas

Socio-economic Exclusion and Bullying