The NEU commissioned research, 'Place and Belonging in School: why it matters today' offers examples of how intentional whole-school practice can help create a climate of welcome and belonging in school. A purposeful approach which brings everyone on board, enriches the lives of all concerned and sets the school on a positive and upward trajectory. 

The context for the research was one of growing concerns about the rapid increase in rates of exclusions and alienation, and the impact of this on young people’s well-being mental health and life chances

This report illustrates what is possible – even in the most challenging of contexts – and how rewarding and joyful this is.

The table has two columns .  The left hand column is the Belonging Challenge and has four bullet points which outline the consequences for young people of not having a sense of place and belonging.  The right hand column is headed the Belonging Opportunity and lists six points which a sense of belonging has been linked to


The research findings have been organised around three interconnected themes. These are as follows:

  • Place and belonging in schools: page banner
    Theme 1: belonging and leadership

    The NEU’s ‘Belonging’ research highlights that where school leaders developed an intentional approach focused on changing learning and teaching, that this led to reshaping expectations and the culture of the school by all.

  • Place and belonging in schools: page banner
    Theme 2: belonging and culture

    The NEU’s ‘Belonging’ research puts relationships between students and staff at the heart of the cycle of connectivity where they are heard and seen for who they are.

  • Place and belonging in schools: page banner
    Theme 3: belonging and agency

    The NEU’s ‘Belonging’ research highlights that staff retention is far greater where teachers know that they can make a difference and they have a strong sense of personal and professional agency in their school.

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Share best practice with other members on how your school is creating a sense of place and belonging and register your interest here to be more involved.