An Exploration of how Secondary Schools Promote a Sense of Belonging with Pupils who are International New Arrivals (INA)

  • Hannah Cartmell

Student thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology


A 'sense of belonging' has been found to have positive effects for all children in school. However, it may be difficult to promote with INA pupils who face cultural, language and systemic barriers. To date, there has been little attempt at investigating the factors in school that can promote a sense of belonging for these pupils. This research attempts to fill some of the gaps in the research that have been identified. Unlike the other research that does exist in this field, the current study focuses on the experience of secondary school aged pupils specifically in UK schools.Two secondary schools were identified to take part in the research through purposive sampling. One a mixed school and the other an all-boys school, both schools have experience of supporting INA pupils. Young people in Year 8-10 were selected as the focus of this research to avoid exam and transition periods. In total 5 INA pupils, 11 peers and 13 staff members contributed to the research. A case study design was used that involved 5 semi-structured interviews, 2 peer focus groups and 2 staff focus groups. The data were partially transcribed and thematic analysis was used to highlight key themes.The findings revealed that 'belonging' is a complex, dynamic construct which may also have different cultural connotations. There are many shared themes in relation to conceptualizing belonging and the strategies that are used by the two schools. These findings have wide implications for schools' practice in relation to supporting INA pupils to foster a sense of belonging and acculturate to their new home.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKevin Woods (Supervisor) & Caroline Bond (Supervisor)


  • Immigration
  • Acculturation
  • Immigrants
  • School
  • Belonging

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