Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Lynne Cohen

Second Supervisor

Julie Ann Pooley


The way that children feel about school is important to their continued engagement with education. This review examines the issues that impact on the school environment and therefore influence students' school experience. A decline in educational standards in America prompted school reform research which has identified that the emotional climate in schools was impacting on students in that they felt alienated and disenfranchised from the school community. The emotional climate of a school stems from the nature of the relationship that exists between the students and staff of the school. A movement to establish caring community schools that promote the fostering of caring relationships was initiated to counteract the lack of support that students were experiencing. Caring relationships between teachers and students are believed to promote a sense of belonging to school in students which influences students' academic motivation and their engagement with education. In view of the importance of the teacher student relationship, the issues that influence teachers' sense of belonging to school, and the effect this may have on their work and their relationships with students, are examined.