Compassionate Leadership for School Belonging

Kathryn Riley

ISBN: 9781787359567

Publication: April 01, 2022

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In Compassionate Leadership for School Belonging, Kathryn Riley draws on 40 years of international research and professional practice to show how schools can be places of safety and fulfilment, even in the most difficult of circumstances. When belonging is a school’s guiding principle, more young people at all levels experience a sense of connectedness and friendship, perform better academically, and come to believe in themselves; their teachers feel more professionally fulfilled, their families more accepted. The originality of this highly readable book lies in its scope. It offers international analysis from the OECD alongside insights from the author’s extensive research in schools, powerfully supported by observational vignettes and drawings from the children, young people and teachers who have been her co-researchers. The book reveals patterns of dislocation, disaffection and exclusion, and highlights the points of intervention in policy and practice needed across school systems to create the conditions for school belonging. The methodologies, concepts and research tools offered can be used by practitioners and researchers in their own contexts, and to guide school leaders towards creating their own places of belonging.

This is an urgent book of hope, offering knowledge so that schools can open up possibilities to all children and young people in an increasingly uncertain world.

Kathryn Riley is Professor of Urban Education at the UCL Institute of Education.


List of Vignettes, Figures and Tables

Foreword - Karen Seashore Louis

Prologue - Kathryn Riley

About the Author



PART I:  Why School Belonging Matters 

1. Searching for a place

2. On the outside looking in

3. I belong here

PART II: The Practice of School Belonging

4. Community engagement

5. Schools where belonging works

6. Tools to take your thinking forward 

PART III: Rethinking Leadership for Belonging

7. Leading through the Labyrinth

8.: Leading with Compassion

9. Re-framing ‘what is’ to ‘what can be’


Appendix 1: Research on Place and Belonging – Kathryn Riley

Appendix II:  Research Methodology and Further Tools

Appendix III:  Videos and materials linked to place and belonging



Format: Open Access PDF

B&W tables, colour illustrations, and colour photo/halftones

Copyright: © 2022

ISBN: 9781787359567

Publication: April 01, 2022

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