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The importance of belonging

Written by: Kate Thornton
4 min read
KATE THORNTON, LEAD PRACTITIONER FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING, PENWORTHAM PRIORY ACADEMY, UK I would happily bet money that in your staffroom everyone has a seat or at least an area where they sit. Nobody would actually claim a seat to be ‘theirs’, but if you went in on Monday and rearranged the furniture, everyone would feel momentarily in limbo until a new status quo was achieved.  We all need to feel a sense of belonging and our pupils are no exception to this, as highlighted in UCL research about belonging in school (Riley et al., 2020). This reports that ‘children from disadvantaged communities are twice as likely as their more advantaged peers to feel they don’t belong’ (p. 3).  Tackling the disadvantage gap is obviously an urgent national agenda, but this made me deeply question how well schools function as tools for social mobility.  I always felt that I belonged in school. I came from a middle-class family who had pre-loaded me with language, uniform, behav

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