Best Practice

Building belonging in your school: 12 ideas

Having witnessed the opening days of term earlier this year across five schools, Mark Goodwin discusses how we can build a sense of belonging and inclusion that will support students' wellbeing, behaviour and progress
Image: Adobe Stock -

Being present in five schools during the first two days of September 2023 I was able to experience several different “welcome backs” to students and staff as schools re-opened their doors for a new academic year.

It was a joy to hear the warm words of welcome and belonging that articulated the on-going challenge of education as well as the support on offer to ensure success.

One headteacher used the expression: “A second spring.” In these schools it certainly felt like a time of new beginnings, hope and optimism about what might bloom from the new growth on display.

The longer this sense of belonging and connection continues into the new year the more successful those young people will be. When young people feel safe and valued at school, they are much more likely to experience positive social connections, a confident sense of self and acceptance of their place in the school community, which will go a long way to ensuring their future success.

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