Hayley Lugassy

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Hayley Lugassy, Vegan Society Reseacher Network member
University of East Anglia

I am an Educational Psychologist at Cheshire East Council.  My professional interests and areas of specialism include supporting children and young people who have social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs, particularly those that have experienced trauma, and promoting equality, inclusion, and diversity within education. I particularly enjoy working with the adults and the system(s) around children and young people, for example by completing whole school projects, working collaboratively with other agencies, and delivering training to school staff. 

In August 2022, I was awarded a Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of East Anglia. My research interests include veganism, inclusive education, identity development, and the social and environmental factors that influence children’s social and emotional well-being. My doctoral thesis consisted of a qualitative study exploring the educational experiences of vegan young people aged 11-18 in England. My thesis can be found here: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/89352/

The findings suggest that being a vegan young person in England has a varying amount of influence on social and emotional well-being. The vegan young people interviewed identified challenges, such as: questioning whether – or to what extent - they should reveal their vegan identity, while feeling a burden to raise awareness and educate others on topics relating to animal cruelty and the climate crisis; managing the emotional impact of being a vegan young person in a world and education system that often presents non-vegan stimuli (e.g., fish dissection);  experiencing micro and macroaggression from staff and peers, with some young people reporting severe bullying; and, managing interacting with non-vegans, dependent upon the levels of acceptance or tolerance the vegan and non-vegan young people have for one another. I am keen to conduct further research in this area to promote inclusion and well-being of vegan children and young people within education. In line with my professional views, pupil voice is essential, so I aim to employ qualitative methods where possible to ensure that vegan children and young people’s voices and views are heard.

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