Inclusion Matters 2018: Resilience and Belonging

Belonging means thinking about the difference we can make by connecting with people in our communities. For schools, this means reaching out and embracing our diverse communities. In Manchester, we have hugely diverse communities, living alongside each other in close proximity. The diversity of our Manchester communities presents opportunities as well as challenges, and very many of our schools engage in an inclusive way with their communities to promote tolerance and understanding.

The theme for our fifth annual Inclusion Matters conference was Resilience and Belonging.

Some of our delegates asked why we had taken the theme of resilience again for our conference, as this was the theme of our previous conference in 2016. “Inclusion Matters 2016: Resilience” was built around the film made for us by Meg Houghton Gilmour, which was prompted in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015.

Since then, the City of Manchester suffered a terrorist attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017. The aftermath of the Arena attack caused many of us to think in more detail about how we can develop the resilience of children and young people in a world in which these events are likely to continue to be part of their experience.

In July 2017, soon after the Arena bomb, David Trickey from the Anna Freud Centre spoke in Manchester about the impact of trauma and the ways in which communities can enhance the resilience of children. At the same time, we were introduced to the Resilience Framework produced by Professor Angie Hart of Boing Boing Resilience. For our Inclusion Matters conference, we were fortunate to be able to bring Anne Rathbone from Boing Boing, and David Trickey together in the same event, to help us explore and reflect together on resilience and the crucially important strand of belonging.

Graphic Capture: reflecting on learning during the day

During the day, delegates were invited to capture any new thinking, questions, and plans for the future prompted by the speakers and conversations that took place during the day. Thoughts and ideas were contributed to a large picture that can be downloaded as a PDF here:

Resilience and Belonging Graphic Capture 2018

Please note, we are still working on ways to enhance the quality and access to this graphic.

Keynote speakers

The conference opened with presentations from Barlow Hall Primary School and Longsight Community Primary School, local schools who have reached out into their communities in different ways and who have community values at the centre of their vision.

Resilience and Belonging by Jayne Kennedy and Jen Holden can be downloaded here

Longsight Family Hub: Working in collaboration to serve our community by Rukhsana Ahmed to follow shortly.

Morning keynote address: Anne Rathbone, Senior Training and Consultancy Manager, Boingboing-Resilience CIC

“Promoting resilience through a whole school approach” to follow shortly.

This presentation provided an overview of the Resilience Framework (Hart & Blincow, 2007) with a particular focus on the role of belonging in the development of resilience.   It explored how the Framework can be used to promote pupil resilience, via the Academic Resilience Approach (ARA).  A whole school approach, underpinned by principles of pupil engagement, the ARA promotes evidence-based practice that integrates belonging and pupil voice as part of a holistic, asset-based response to the increasing challenges to mental health and emotional wellbeing for young people.

Afternoon keynote address: David Trickey, Clinical Psychologist, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

“Professional Responses to Potentially Traumatic Events” can be downloaded here.

This presentation described Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how it manifests in children and young people. It considered how the research-evidence can inform the response of professionals following potentially traumatic events, with a particular emphasis on what this might look like in the very real-world setting of schools.

Seminar 1: Blackpool’s Resilience Revolution 

The seminar content cannot be made available for download, but there is further information on the Boingboing website here.

Anne Rathbone, Senior Training and Consultancy Manager, Boingboing-Resilience CIC

This seminar drew on the example of HeadStart Blackpool to illustrate the potential impact of a whole town approach to promoting resilience.  Blackpool schools are at the centre of HeadStart’s “Resilience Revolution” (based on the resilience work of Prof. Angie Hart, University of Brighton).   Practical examples of schools’ engagement in the Resilience Revolution were explored, looking at the potential for schools’ involvement in an area wide approach to transform the lives of children and young people, families and communities.

Seminar 2: Children’s rights within their educational assessment – how well are we doing? 

Professor Kevin Woods, Research Co-ordinator, Manchester Institute of Education and Director of Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology, University of Manchester, together with Joanne Williams and Leanne Taft

There is continued interest in supporting the promotion of children’s rights in schools, but how does this look when it comes to assessment? To what extent does, or can, our current assessment practices (e.g. for SATs, GCSEs) promote children’s rights? Drawing on recent research, Kevin offered some ideas for how we might think about promoting children’s rights in assessment at school.  

Kevin's presentation was based on an article that is currently “in press” and cannot therefore be made available pending publication.

Jo Williams is a trainee educational psychologist in her final year of the doctorate in educational and child psychology at the University of Manchester, working in the City of York's Educational Psychology Service. Jo presented evidence that rights-based approaches can support schools to deliver positive outcomes for students and teachers.

"7 ways in which a children's rights-based approach supports resilience in schools and 7 ways to make it successful" can be downloaded here.

Leanne Jackson Taft is a current Trainee Educational Psychologist at the University of Manchester and previously worked in secondary education.  This session discussed ways in which Educational Psychologists and schools might develop their work to promote community cohesion.

“Community Cohesion: A Children’s Rights Issue” can be downloaded here.

Seminar 3: Building relationships with parents to enable resilience and well being

“Building relationships with parents to enable resilience and well-being” to follow shortly.

Emma Beresford, Director, Parental Engagement Network CIC

This workshop brought together PEN’s experience of helping schools engage parents to promote well-being and resilience particularly at points of transition. This includes developing relationships as children start primary school through the “mouse club” and home learning projects and supporting families as they leave primary school and start secondary school through the “Moving Up” project. Drawing on the result of our research project we looked at how schools can: help build community and “belonging” for children and parents through peer networks of support; enable parents and children to do fun home activities together which can help to develop confidence, self-esteem, independence, and learning, provide information, support and modelling for parents to empower them and give them confidence to support their child’s healthy development.

Seminar 4: Creating a sense of school belonging for vulnerable pupils - how are we doing? 

“Creating a sense of school belonging for vulnerable pupils - how are we doing?” can be downloaded here.

Dr Catherine Kelly, Dr Holly Craggs and Leanne Greenwood

Dr Catherine Kelly is a Professional and Academic Tutor at the University of Manchester and Senior Educational Psychologist, Bury Metropolitan Council, Dr Holly Craggs is an educational psychologist with a research interest in school belonging and managed moves, Leanne Greenwood is a trainee educational psychologist with a research interest in school belonging and looked after children.

The social and academic benefits for pupils of a sense of belonging at school have been established but less is known about how this key protective factor is fostered, particularly for vulnerable pupils. How do schools create a sense of belonging for their pupils and what practices benefit more vulnerable pupils? Drawing on recent research, this seminar suggested some ideas for how we might think about a sense of school belonging and how it can be promoted.  

Two further articles of interest are as follows:

Craggs & Kelly 2017: School belonging: Listening to the voices of secondary school students who have undergone managed moves

Deborah Flitcroft & Catherine Kelly (2016): An appreciative exploration of how schools create a sense of belonging to facilitate the successful transition to a new school for pupils involved in a managed move, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 21:3, 301-313,

Seminar 5: What Makes a Traumatic Event Traumatic

“What Makes a Traumatic Event Traumatic” can be downloaded here.

David Trickey, Clinical Psychologist, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

This seminar used the Cognitive Model of PTSD as a framework for understanding how children and young people are traumatised by events. It described how memories for traumatic events are different from memories for other events, and how these traumatic memories together with the lasting meaning of events can continue to cause children and young people distress and difficulty long after the events have ended.

Seminar 6: Building a place of Belonging; from board to delivery

Monika’s presentation can be downloaded here, and accompanying notes are available here.

Monika Neall, Impact Consultant, The Pebble

Monika Neall is an Impact Consultant and Coach. She works with organisations to help them make a bigger difference. Monika has designed training and consultancy to connect ideas to strategy and outcomes. She is the Chair of Governors at Alma Park Primary School and is a parent governor representative on Manchester City Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee.

Proactive ways for us to embed “belonging” into school policy and practice: Sources of belonging double as sources of resilience, so for children who don't have that sense of belonging through trauma, violence, instability etc, this affects their core resilience. This seminar explored the fact that schools can proactively become a place of belonging and consider how we as schools can find strategic ways to help find better solutions.

Seminar 7: Addressing the needs of international newly arrived children and families

“Addressing the needs of international newly arrived children and families” can be downloaded here.

Dr Iyabo Fatimilehin, Director, Just Psychology CIC

Iyabo Fatimilehin is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and director of Just Psychology CIC, a social enterprise she co-founded in 2011 to address the psychological and mental health needs of children, adults and families with an emphasis on cultural competence, cultural diversity and social justice. 

This seminar focused on the key issues and experiences of children who have arrived in the UK in recent years.  It addressed issues of culture and migration and how these affect child development and family functioning.  It explored the ways that schools can respond effectively and sensitively to the needs of these children and their families whilst promoting inclusion and valuing diversity.

Seminar 8: Canine Assisted Learning (therapy dogs in schools)

Unfortunately, Vickie Plumer, Director, Canine Assisted Learning was unable to join us on the day of the conference. However, she provided the following information, and can be contacted via her website link above.

“Canine-Assisted Learning provides animal-assisted intervention, activities and support to both educational and private environments. Our highly trained assistance dogs and therapists have a wealth of experience working with young people with special educational needs along with mainstream students. We take pride in the professional, unique service we offer and aim to be the leaders in Animal Assisted Interventions in schools in the UK. We are a member of the Society for Companion Animal Studies and we fully comply with their codes of practice.”