Few years ago I heard a successful campaigner talk about his work Main message – to bring about real change you had to influence the decision makers Lobby So who can we get to lobby on behalf of education?
Maybe it is parents Create a school so exceptional that people would relocate Small class sizes, state of the art IT, stunning buildings Would people move into failing areas and help it regenerate?
Would the parents then act as lobbyist for that school and the local area? Or is the idea a form of social engineering Naïve? Would it push out those in that area? Move social problems elsewhere?
So investigated further and came across report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation Schools and area regeneration 2003 Not about social engineering but recognised role of schools in community regeneration Helping with the lives of those in the immediate area and recognising challenges they face *pause*
Why am I talking about this topic - Know me river projects Began landscape career City Challenge Holmewood Bradford One of first partnership projects Some great successes, high quality improvements made huge difference Started my interest community regeneration Work involved in didn’t include schools
Regeneration – where do you begin? Tidy up the housing stock, plant trees, restore rivers, remove flood risk? Look at role of school in community and what else can do, esp outside school hours Huge scope
Centre of community Focus not just for parents Create somewhere to be proud of Sense of belonging
Return to school Improve skills - 56% adult population below level of good pass GCSE level for literacy – work to do Evening classes, work skills,
Community venue – christmas bazaar Concerts Business use – conference, meeting rooms Holidays and weekends Café/ care for wider age groups – serve whole of community
Wildlife site – bats, birds. Invertebrates Part of education – many aspect of curriculum Science, maths, art Natural play – access to mud, water
Often only open space – adds to quality of landscape Just having a gap in densely built areas, borrowed landscape Needs to be a high quality setting, to create sense of pride
Lots of discussion last week cuts funding school sports Room for school and also local teams Someone who hated outdoor team sports (North Yorkshire) still appreciate value of playing fields Space for events like school fair or bonfire night
Question is Can it revive a community? Think it can but a lot to ask of a school Already have to meet main demand of providing an education for pupils Already are centre of many communities – need to develop for all schools Takes time – hard if people in the local have very little time or resources to spare
Or is the revival in the next generation? Is the highest impact on the Children of those with improved education Can take a generation for an area to regenerate, need to look at long timescales. Providing high standard of education helps that generation but then also passes that advantage on to the next generation
Education - We spend a Fortune Rightly so – one of most important roles of state Article 26. Universal declaration human rights Everyone has the right to education. See that the percentage change is slowing down – what will that mean? Is our generation the one that will end the improvements to education that began in the C19th?
*pause* The future – impact? Can’t say But this statement from the Dept of Ed website did shock me
To just stay at the level we are now at , to Maintain the fabric, continue to spend money Not just maintaining but improving and keeping up with technology Design of schools greatly improved since then Have moved on huge amount, including Learning through Landscape and other initiatives As kid my schools were in really poor state with leaky portakabins and freezing hall and just tarmac playground
So Back to question I posed at the beginning Is Education a Hub for Regeneration? Can improving a local school trigger regeneration? It is a very complex issue and 6 minutes doesn’t give much time to explore the idea But argue that the answer is yes.
Thank you –
Is education a hub for regeneration
Education - a Hub for Regeneration?
Are schools a catalyst for
Claire Thirlwall CMLI