Schools are chief among the social institutions impacted by migrant flows as key sites of integration and support for migrant children. This article focuses on micro-and meso-level interactions and their importance to experiences of belonging and socio-educational integration for migrant children. It explores outcomes from qualitative research in Ireland conducted as part of a European research project investigating the socio-educational integration of refugee and migrant children in schools. The research uses participatory and co-creation methodologies, including a Children and Young People’s Research Advisory Group. Child-friendly and age-appropriate focus groups were conducted with migrant children. The content and focus of these were informed through discussion with and insights of the project’s Children and Young People’s Advisory Group. Findings of this study highlight a range of factors impacting on the students’ experiences of belonging and unbelonging in schools including, host language support, school environment and centrality of children’s relationships with teachers as well as concerns among children about experiences of bullying, racism and intolerance. The finding highlights the importance of allowing children to describe their lived experiences using participatory research methods as children can speak to their own realities which may not be as visible to adult observers of children’s social worlds. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2023.2222304
ISSN: 13603116