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“I leave me outside when I come in school and pick myself back up on the way home”: Young people’s perspectives on healthy schools

Kagan, Carolyn and Sixsmith, Judith and Duckett, Paul (2004) “I leave me outside when I come in school and pick myself back up on the way home”: Young people’s perspectives on healthy schools. [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

A collaborative, multi method qualitative case study of three secondary schools was undertaken as part of a Healthy Schools initiative. Year 8 and year 10 pupils gave accounts of how school made them feel. Thematic analysis of these accounts revealed positive and negative links between environment and well-being in schools. In particular, spaces such as the playground and places within school provided sites for bullying and exclusion, and at the same time friendship and belonging. Properties of spaces, such as the physical fabric of buildings and degrees of surveillance also influenced well being. Pupils exercised control over their environments largely through the breaking of what were considered petty and dis-empowering rules. The research indicates the powerful role of place in the emotional well-being of children at schools and suggests that the development of schools as emotionally ‘restorative and healthy places’ require a much fuller understanding of the person-environment relationship.

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