The psychology of loneliness and belonging in school

This workshop will introduce participants to three areas of recent research:

  • The understanding of loneliness in primary schools
  • The development of a sense of belonging after transition to secondary school
  • The relationship between a school’s ethos and the sense of belonging of pupils who feel in some way  distinctive or different.

Provisional timetable

09:30 Registration/Tea and Coffee
10:00 Workshop starts
12:30-13:00 Lunch
16:30 Workshop ends


This workshop arises from discussions with experienced psychologists during the Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology at University College London.

After presentations outlining the key findings from research in these areas participants will work in groups to examine the implications of these findings for the psychological understanding of loneliness and belonging in school.  Case study discussion that focuses on individuals and schools will aim to explore old dilemmas and challenges in the light of new perspectives on the understanding of cognitive, social and emotional aspects of isolation and engagement.

The day will end with group work devoted to examining how psychologists’ work with schools and individuals is enhanced when it takes account of the impact of loneliness and belonging outside the home.

After the workshop the recommendations for good practice that emerge from group and plenary discussions will be collated and circulated to all participants by email.

Target audience

This workshiop is designed for educational and child psychologists who have experience of working with schools.

Learning outcomes and objectives

Participants will:

  • Be aware of key findings in recent research on loneliness and belonging in schools
  • Have a critical understanding of central concepts and theories in this field
  • Be able to analyse the relationship between a school’s organisational arrangements and ethos and the social engagement and isolation of its pupils
  • Be aware of possible strategies for intervention with individuals and schools
  • Be ready to implement improved practices around social engagement in schools in their own practice as a psychologist.

Facilitator: Dr Tony Cline CPsychol FBPsS

Tony worked in inner city and suburban areas around London as a teacher and educational psychologist before spending eight years as Principal Educational Psychologist for the Inner London Education Authority. Subsequently he moved into higher education, firstly in the training of educational psychologists at UCL and then as a head of department at the University of Luton. Tony's 80+ publications have covered a wide range of subjects, including psychological assessment, dyslexia, the education of bilingual children and selective mutism. He is currently involved in a study of professional constructions of school ethos through the analysis of how the concept is employed in inspection reports on schools. He has chaired NASEN’s Editorial Board and has organized and led national conferences for the BDA and NALDIC. His external training and consultancy work has taken him to over 45 local education authorities, children's services and professional associations in the last ten years.

Co-Facilitator: Dr Maureen Liepins CPsychol AFBPsS

Maureen has been employed as an Educational Psychologist for 29 years both in local authorities and independent practice. She researched the topic of primary school age children’s understanding of loneliness in the course of her doctorate studies at UCL. She has given presentations and been involved in seminars with fellow students on the topic of the development of children’s understanding of loneliness and continues to use practical applications of her findings in casework with families and professionals.

Co-Facilitator: Dr Michelle Sancho CPsychol AFBPsS

Michelle has worked as an educational psychologist in inner London, Greater London and West Berkshire. She has also worked as an academic and professional tutor on the doctoral training course for educational psychologists at University College London (UCL). Michelle currently works as an Assistant Principal Educational Psychologist in West Berkshire and is an Honorary Lecturer at UCL conducting training for trainee educational psychologists in specialist areas.She conducted research on children’s sense of belonging in the course of her doctoral studies at UCL. She has given presentations and been involved in seminars in this area.

Booking information


  • Non-Society members: £138 (£115 + VAT)
  • Society members: £104 (£86.67 + VAT)
  • DECP members: £78 (£65 +VAT)
  • Concessions: £54 (£45 + VAT)

From 14 January 2013:

  • Non-Society members: £138 (£115 + VAT)
  • Society members: £104 (£86.67 + VAT)
  • DECP members: £90 (£75 +VAT)
  • Concessions: £62.50 (£52.08 + VAT)

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii (studying in the UK and not subject to income tax), Rule 21 (retired) members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.

How to book:

Please note: online bookings will close 24 hours prior to the event. Please call +44 (0)116 2529512 for availability after this point.

To pay by cheque or request an invoice complete and return the registration form

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests at least 6 weeks before the event date.

Wed, 03/07/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

Division of Educational and Child Psychology & BPS Learning Centre