01 SES 11 A, Leadership of and for Learning: Professional Learning as Critical Enquiry to Further School Improvement and Inclusive Practice
This paper builds on a robust knowledge base to explore the conditions needed to help create a greater sense of place and belonging in schools for children and young people. It seeks to identify potential points of intervention, focusing in particular, on the critical role of teachers. Across OECD countries, young people’s sense of belonging in school is declining, with 1 in 4 feeling that they don’t belong (OECD, 2017). Young people from socio-economically disadvantaged communities are twice as likely as their more affluent peers from more advantaged communities to feel that they don’t belong and four times more likely to be excluded (Fair Education Alliance, 2017). Belonging is a relational, cultural, geographic and dynamic concept. It is that sense of being somewhere where you can be confident that you will fit in and feel safe in your identity (Riley, 2017): a feeling of being at home in a place and of being valued. Belonging can shift rapidly into ‘not belonging’ (Riley & Rustique Forester, 2002), with damaging consequences for individuals and society. In the UK, the happiness of young people is at its lowest ebb since 2010 for a range of reasons, many school-related (The Good Childhood Report, 2017). The paper draws on a body of international research and development work conducted in ethnically diverse and socially-economically deprived neighbourhoods in Europe (UK, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden) and beyond. It offers examples of how involvement in collaborative research inquiry can generate a sense of agency for young people and teachers. It also illustrates how, through an iterative process embedded in the core principles of educational design research, knowledge about school-based interventions can be generated, refined, theorised and shared. It provides knowledge-building tools designed to help leaders look afresh at their school cultures and understand the broader narrative about belonging. The lenses of agency and social capital are used to illustrate how leadership of place is conceptualised and enacted with intent.
OECD (2017). PISA Results 2015 (Volume III). https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/pisa-2015results-volume-iii_9789264273856-en Riley, K. (2017). Place, belonging and school leadership: Researching to make the difference. London: Bloomsbury. Riley, K., & Rustique-Forrester, E. (2002). Why children lose interest in school and what we can do about it. London: Chapman Sage. The Fair Education Alliance (2017). Report Card 20162017. http://www.faireducation.org.uk/report-card/accessed 27/10/2017. The Good Childhood Report (2017). https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/the-good-childhoodreport
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