Scotland In a fascinating initiative, over 150 Scottish schools are developing more integrated services to raise attainment and promote social inclusion. Giving children the opportunity to realise their full potential, so that they leave school with relevant skills, well motivated and with high personal readiness of the child to schooling-esteem, equips them for adult life and reduces the risk of social exclusion. For too long, too many children have been condemned to repeat the cycle of deprivation, educational underachievement and failure.
Their life chances are reduced at an early stage. The disaffection with school which follows has been tolerated. New Community Schools will embody the fundamental principle that the potential of all children can be realised only by addressing their needs in the round – and that this requires an integrated approach by all those involved. Barriers to learning must be identified at the earliest stage, and intervention must be focused, planned and sustained. The integrated provision of school education, family support and health education and promotion services. Clear management arrangements for the integrated delivery of services. The adoption of strategies to encourage students and parents, together and separately, to develop positive attitudes to learning.
By October 1999 over 30 local authorities were running projects with some 150 schools involved. Two further phases are scheduled in April 2000 and April 2001. Essential characteristics and likely features Below we have extracted what the Government sees to be the essential characteristics and the likely features. It can be seen from these that the initiative is very much in line with other aspects of New Labour policy. Raising education standards as measured by SATs and the attainment of qualifications, and through things like attendance rates.
For informal educators there is an explicit and a welcome recognition of their role – although there may not be a full and embracing understanding of their orientation and ways of working. New community schools – essential characteristics According to New Community Schools. New Community Schools participating in the pilot programme. A focus on all the needs of all pupils at the school. Empowering parents and family members to raise their expectations of their children and themselves. In most cases this will include the development of a family support service at the school. Outreach to parents must be planned and provided.
The development of a New Community School will provide an important opportunity and mechanism to build the capacity of the local community. Authorities should consult the local community in the initial preparation of the bid and the subsequent development of the New Community School. Integrated provision of school education, informal as well as formal education, social work and health education and promotion services. This will require a new approach and level of inter-disciplinary team working – ensuring that the team can intervene quickly and effectively in support of the child or the family. Proposals must show how integration will be achieved.
At the minimum, proposals should set out a management structure which includes a single reporting and accountability framework within the New Community School for all of the core services involved. It is for authorities to devise a framework appropriate to their own circumstances. Arrangements for the delivery of these services according to a set of integrated objectives and measurable outcomes. It is likely that many services will not have been delivered at or through the school before. In most instances, co-location in some form is likely to be a significant feature. This is because co-location provides the most straightforward opportunity to ensure coherence of service provision for the school’s pupils. To be effective, those working in and for the New Community School and staff in Directorates and other services who relate to the school must be committed to the concept of integrated working.
This commitment and leadership is essential at political level and at all levels of management. It must be shared by all partners. A programme should be developed involving the full range of staff working together to common goals and objectives in promoting the educational attainment and welfare of children in the school. New community schools – likely features As well as these essential characteristics, New Community Schools are likely to have most if not all of the following features. The New Community School involves a step change in the relationship between the school and the families of the children at the school. It should provide advice and support for parents as well as children. An orientation to treatment, therapy and remedial action: While there is a significant element of additional educational activity, the overriding impetus is directed toward ‘treatment’.