How one small Scottish school could shake up education

May 17, 2015 by

We should all support the plan to turn St Joseph’s in Milngavie into Scotland’s first community partnership school

There is an appealing flexibility in such a plan. The school would be able to raise funds for an assortment of initiatives deemed to be beneficial to its pupils and also to the wider community. Although it sounds revolutionary in concept, it isn’t really, as the levers exist in current legislation to enable it to happen; it’s just that no one has previously thought to deploy them. The school would be handed over via a public sector asset transfer or through the new powers that are expected to be contained within the forthcoming community empowerment bill. Indeed, it would be the model for what the new community empowerment legislation is seeking to achieve.

This represents a radical challenge to the one-size-fits-all approach to delivering education in Scotland. For the responsibility of the local education authority to maintain and manage the school and to provide education would immediately cease and pass instead to the community school partnership. The new community school would be governed by a board of management comprising parents, staff, appointed members and the head teacher.

What it isn’t, though, is an end to state education that has served the nation well for more than a century. Recently, the state model has begun to ship water in the struggle to keep class sizes down and achieve increasingly onerous targets in numeracy and literacy skills. The St Joseph’s community school partnership simply eases the burden a little. It also provides a lifeboat for other schools, especially in Scotland’s remote places, where the vagaries of depopulation and rural decline can, in the space of a generation, render a revered old school obsolete.

Source: How one small Scottish school could shake up education | Kevin McKenna | Comment is free | The Guardian

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