National Children’s Bureau

Helping children feel accepted, respected and included

A sense of belonging plays a decisive role in shaping children’s social, emotional and mental health outcomes. The National Children’s Bureau ‘Belonging Matters’ project focuses on how schools can improve this for all children, including those with special education needs and disabilities (SEND). Our grant of £183,636 will allow the charity to work with 10 mainstream and specialist primary and secondary schools to co-produce, implement and evaluate an evidence-based approach to improving children’s sense of belonging.

  • Belonging Matters will directly benefit 6,000 students.
  • 1 in 6 children have a complex need or co-occurring condition.
  • 6 in 10 children feel that they belong in school.

Aiming for impact

Belonging Matters will deliver training so that teachers and school staff have the skills to improve children’s feelings of acceptance, respect and inclusion. The National Children’s Bureau will support each school to carry out an audit and develop an action plan based on their findings. By strengthening relationships, Belong Matters aims to improve attendance and trust between families and schools.

As the leading experts on SEND in children’s education and the Department for Education’s strategic reform partner, the National Children’s Bureau can advocate for high-impact changes to SEND practice nationally. They will disseminate the work from Belonging Matters across schools and the children’s sector, local and national government, ultimately aiming to influence national policy.



“There are many ways in which schools can easily and very cheaply promote a sense of belonging. The project is an excellent idea and perfectly timed following the impact of Covid on this area.”

Cath Lowther, General Secretary of the Association of Educational Psychologists

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