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Let's hear it for .....
A Podcast Series in five parts

A story of possibilities, told by young people, school leaders, experts from around the world and through the eyes of Rapper, Jamie Pyke.

Let’s Hear it for School Belonging

School belonging is just the starting point. It.....

Propels young people through life, encouraging them to listen & learn from others.

Enables them to grow in confidence & knowledge

Inspires them to live on this planet with dignity and puts them on a pathway to citizenship - personal, social and global.


Programme Director: Professor Kathryn Riley

Opening Music: DancePoet TioMolina

Rapp: Jamie Pyke

Illustrations: Kristy Campbell

Production & Design: Dr Manuela Mendoza, Fran Ortiz, Lisa Jo Robinson, Kudsi Tuluoglu

Supported by: The Art of Possibilities; Hackney Learning Trust; National Education Union; Telford & Wrekin Council, The Staff College; UCL Innovation Fund

Podcast 1: Shut up and leave me alone

At the deepest level, belonging is what defines us as human.

How young people experience their school days will stay with them throughout their life. For some, ‘belonging’ begins as a struggle to be accepted in school. Young people may feel outsiders. ‘Shut up and leave me alone’ were the only words that 10-year-old refugee ‘Aisha’ could find to say in English, after three weeks in her school.

Others find themselves ostracized: informally by their peers, or formally through punishments which exclude them for periods of time. Being ostracised is a special pain that is lived and re-lived.


Dr Mohammed Elmeski, International Educator from Morocco

Catherine Gladwell, Refugee Education UK

Kipling D. Williams, American Professor of Psychology

Jamie Pyke, (Rapper)

Professor Kathryn Riley, UCL Institute of Education and The Art of Possibilities

Podcast 2: You are all in Detention

School exclusion and marginalisation have an impact on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in society.

When young people are stigmatised and excluded, their families come to see themselves as failures. When they can’t find a sense of belonging in the formal structures, they look for it elsewhere, becoming vulnerable to grooming or being up in gangs.

In this uncertain world, we all need to have a sense of self-esteem, and a place where we belong


Janet Foster, Associate Professor of Criminology, London School of Economics

Anita Berlin, GP & Professor of Community Medicine at BARTS

Shaun Brown, The Difference, the UK

Jamie Pyke, (Rapper)

Professor Kathryn Riley, UCL Institute of Education and The Art of Possibilities

Podcast 3: Acceptance: This is how we look. This is how we talk.

Belonging is that sense of being somewhere you can be confident you will fit in and feel safe in your identity: a feeling of being at home in a place.

In schools where belonging works, the student-teacher relationship is powerful. Young people feel trusted. They believe that their voice is heard and that what they say matters. They are happier, more confident and perform better academically. Their teachers feel more valued, and their families connected.


Dr Kelly-Ann Allen, Australian Psychologist & Educator

Imani Clough UK Educator & Trainer

School students from University of Birmingham School

Jamie Pyke, (Rapper)

Professor Kathryn Riley, UCL Institute of Education and The Art of Possibilities

Podcast 4: Zero tolerance or a sense of us?

School leaders set the tone for what is valued. Their expectations shape the climate - for exclusion or belonging.

Those leaders who choose to take a compassionate approach, work to help create a sense of oneness and belonging, so that when young people step over the school gates, the threshold, they become part of a community. Whatever else is going on in their lives, they know that they are stronger in their school by being together.

Compassion is the super-glue that brings schools, families and communities together.


Dame Mary Marsh, past headteacher and Chief Executive of the NSPCC

Jo Dibb, past Executive headteacher, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, London

Dave McPartlin, headteacher Flakefleet School, Fleetwood

Jamie Pyke, (Rapper)

Professor Kathryn Riley, UCL Institute of Education and The Art of Possibilities

Podcast 5: ‘Belonging, Becoming and Believing’ in our Global World

A sense of school belonging is just the starting point for young people.

When young people feel confident and that they belong, they learn to respect each other and accept differences. They listen to others, and learn how to make their own decisions, for the right reasons.

A sense of belonging enables young people to grow up to be the best adults they can be. As compassionate adults, they come to see themselves as citizens who respect each other and the planet and can make their distinctive contributions to society.


Professor María Teresa Rojas,International Researcher from Chile

Anton Florek, Lead Associate, Staff College UK

Dr Manuela Mendoza, Chilean and UK Researcher

Jo Riley & young people from Cremer Primary School, Hackney

Jamie Pyke, (Rapper)

Professor Kathryn Riley, UCL Institute of Education and The Art of Possibilities



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