What We Believe
Community engagement changes schools for the better. Schools can help to change communities for the better. Schools and communities working together can radically transform the futures of young people. We believe, with the support of a growing body of evidence, that these insights now hold the key to effecting long-term improvement in educational outcomes for our country.
Education reform is properly concerned with our nation’s place in international comparisons. The present focus on high quality teaching in classrooms is necessary but it is not in itself sufficient to create the enterprising workers and active citizens of the future. Concentration on academic standards is also necessary, but it is not sufficient to create the lifelong learners, who have the imagination and passion, as well as intellect, which our society needs to hold its head high in the global economy of the future.
In addition, poor educational performance seems to us to be a reflection of deep-seated deprivation and social dislocation. In a world of rapid economic, social and technological change society seems increasingly fractured and fragmented. Rapid change and economic necessity puts a new value on social and citizenship skills, tolerance and civic responsibility. A ‘national standards’ story is at odds with a focus on building change from within -using communities as the leverage for change.
As our school system goes through rapid, fundamental and irreversible change, it is crucial that the insights we have gained over many years into the interdependence of school and community are not lost. But equally the values and principles that underpin those insights need to be understood and applied afresh in the very different world of the present and future.