How to build a sense of belonging at your school
All pupils deserve to feel a sense of belonging at school.
A sense of belonging is key for pupils to feel happy and healthy. And, happy, healthy pupils are more likely to achieve their potential at school.
But how do you create a learning environment that feels positive and inclusive for all? It’s easier than you think!
Here we’ll share some ways to create a sense of belonging and make all pupils feel welcome!
Share your values
Your school’s values provide a solid foundation for all pupils. Values can help build confidence, develop learning and shape each pupil’s future aspirations.
In a lonely or uncertain world, your values remind pupils that they’re part of a trusted community.
So, if you reinforce your values whenever possible, you can build a sense of belonging for all pupils.
Display your values visually in key areas of your school;
- Outdoors on your gates, fences or exterior buildings
- Your reception area or office
- Communal spaces like your school hall or playground
- Heavy footfall areas like corridors and stairwells
- Recreational areas like the Sports Department or Canteen
A safe space for all
Actions speak louder than words. Show pupils that their school is a safe and inclusive space – and that they truly belong.
It helps if you factor diversity and inclusion into multiple aspects of school life;
- Represent people from all backgrounds in learning materials and images
- Within your curriculum, share historical achievements from people of all walks of life, especially from minorities and under-represented groups
- Stock your school library with books featuring characters of all ethnicities and abilities. And source books from diverse authors too – this is hugely aspirational for budding young authors!
- Don’t be afraid to talk openly with pupils and staff to understand what support is needed for marginalised groups
Every child deserves to feel a sense of belonging at school – regardless of who they are, what they believe and where they’re from.
It’s important that parents feel as welcome and part of your school community as their children do.
You can create a sense of belonging for parents, even before they step foot through your school gates.
For example, add welcoming visual displays to your car park, fences, external grounds or reception areas. Brand these with your school logo and colours, and include your values or mission statement to show what you stand for.
For some parents, an inclusive culture and welcoming approach is as important as your academic credentials. So, make sure you create a welcoming visual environment for parents when they visit your school.
Use inclusive language and images when you promote Open Days, sports events, performances and festivals.
Pupils who struggle with mental health conditions, behavioural disorders or learning challenges often feel lonely and isolated from their peers.
Support and motivate these pupils with words of encouragement and actionable steps they can take.
For example, share tips on how to re-frame thoughts to encourage a more positive mindset. Or use inspiring “I” statements to boost confidence and self esteem.
“I am talented”
“I can reach for the stars!”
You can use your communal areas to display visual prompts.
These may inspire quiet contemplation, or spark spirited discussion between pupils. Either way, they’ll have a positive impact and make pupils feel supported.
Get pupils involved
If you’re keen to make all pupils feel welcome, it’s useful to ask what appeals to them.
For example, some pupils will be inspired by inclusive and diverse images. Others will respond to motivational words and phrases.
Pupils may look to your values and ethos, or they might feel most welcome when they join special groups and activities on offer at the school.
Ask pupils what makes them feel a sense of belonging. Then, you can tailor any visual prompts to ensure they’re effective.
When we design bespoke Wall Art for schools, many often encourage their pupils to feed ideas into the artwork. This helps pupils feel part of the process. They also feel a sense of pride at their involvement in the end result.
Wall Art for Schools
At Promote Your School, we design beautiful Wall Art for schools around the world.
Every school has a unique objective. So we design everything bespoke to each school’s requirements and preferences. Our service includes design, print and installation of your bespoke Wall Art.
Get in touch to find out more and arrange your free, no obligation consultation!