School connectedness: acceptance, respect and support

School connectedness can be explained as ‘the extent to which students feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others in the school social environment’. To date there is no research on the effective ways of promoting school connectedness for autistic students. An obvious target for school connectedness is to promote an inclusive school culture and to work with teachers and school personnel. Using information from the Autism CRC Educational Needs Analysis project as a baseline, this project aims to explore experiences and perspectives of autistic students, their parents and teachers in urban, rural and remote schools and to implement a school connectedness program in South East Queensland schools to support an inclusive school culture at an individual student, family and school level. To test generalizability, the school connectedness program will be implemented in one New South Wales rural and remote school.

This project has the following objectives:

(a) To identify student, parent and staff perspectives on their experiences of school connectedness in rural, remote and urban communities

(b) To determine individual, school, community and system factors which contribute to or threaten school connectedness for the participant groups in rural, remote and urban communities

(c) To identify the impact of culture and location on school connectedness in rural, remote and urban communities

(d) To develop a proof of concept prototype of the school connectedness program which draws on elements of the Index for Inclusion to support an inclusive school culture, and implements the Resourceful Adolescent Program at an individual student, family and school level in rural, remote and urban communities

(e) To implement and evaluate the school connectedness program prototype in nine urban school environments and one rural and remote school community

(f) To identify programs and adjustments to support school connectedness in rural, remote and urban locations
Project Objectives
a) Identify student, parent and staff perspectives on their experiences of school connectedness in rural, remote and urban communities. b) Determine individual, school, community and system factors which contribute to or threaten school connectedness for the participant groups in rural, remote and urban communities. c) Identify the impact of culture and location on school connectedness in rural, remote and urban communities. d) Develop a proof of concept prototype of the school connectedness program which draws on elements of the Index for Inclusion (Booth & Ainscow, 2011) to support an inclusive school culture and implements the Resourceful Adolescent Program at an individual student, family and school level in rural, remote and urban communities. e) Implement and evaluate the school connectedness program prototype in 9 urban school environments and 1 rural and remote school communities. f) Identify programs and adjustments to support school connectedness in rural, remote and urban locations.
Project Leader(s)
  • Beth Saggers, Queensland University of Technology
  • Ian Shochet, Queensland University of Technology
Research Program

School Years - Program 2