The Conviction of Hope: Compassionate Leadership for School Belonging

In these strange, difficult and often dark times, schools stand at the centre of young people’s lives. Yet a school is just a building. What matters is what goes on inside: Is the school a place of belonging?

‘Belonging’ is that sense of being somewhere you can be confident you will fit in and feel safe in your identity. A feeling of being at home in a place. In schools where belonging works, more young people experience a sense of connectedness and friendship, perform better academically and come to believe in themselves. Their teachers also feel more professionally fulfilled and their families more accepted.

Whether a school becomes a place of belonging or a closed place where young people feel ostracised and staff unappreciated is down to the leadership. School leaders’ actions and inactions shape the culture of a school, determining whose voices are heard and whose overlooked. My question to you is: What can we learn from each other about how to create the conditions for school belonging?

Kathryn Riley

Anders Henriksson deltar i Almedalen

Kathryn Riley is Professor of Urban Education at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and co-founder of The Art of Possibilities. She is also an Associate of the Staff College.

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