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NLCs & community engagement. Alan Dyson & Charlotte Dean School of Education, University of Manchester d.a.dyson@manchester.ac.uk. Background. NLCs have initially focused on internal communities Potential & need to consider external communities

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Nlcs community engagement l.jpg

NLCs & community engagement

Alan Dyson & Charlotte Dean

School of Education, University of Manchester

d.a.dyson@manchester.ac.uk


Background l.jpg
Background

  • NLCs have initially focused on internal communities

  • Potential & need to consider external communities

  • Notions of ‘community’ & schools’ roles in relation to community are problematic

  • Study of two contrasting NLCs to surface conceptualisations & possibilities


Nlc 1 l.jpg
NLC 1

  • Metropolitan – city district – high deprivation

  • 17 schools, nursery to secondary

  • Primary focus on ICT

  • Embedded in an EAZ and a regeneration area – and wider LEA

  • Much community-oriented work

  • Less consultation of involvement


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NLC 2

  • Commuter town – moderate deprivation – self-contained

  • 15 schools initially – all schools in the town – moving to federation

  • Limited initiatives and sources of funding but SRB important

  • Borough council has no education function but involved in NLC

  • Town-school issues seen as intertwined

  • ‘Genuine’ community involvement


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The dimensions 1

Autonomy and collaboration

  • Schools collaborate without compromising their autonomy.

  • Schools work together within some more-or-less formal structure which impacts on their individual autonomy

    Action and learning

  • There is joint action but little deeper engagement which allows schools and/or their partners to learn from each other

  • There are opportunities for schools to learn from their partners, whether these be in other schools or other agencies or in communities

    Focus of action

  • School concerns dominate the issues that are addressed. Community issues figure mainly as they impact on schools.

  • Wider community concerns figure prominently in the issues that are addressed

    Decision-making

  • Decisions are made by schools

  • Decisions are made jointly with community agencies, organisations and members.


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The dimensions 2

Scope of action

  • Issues are limited in focus. If more than one issue is addressed they are likely to be dealt with sequentially or as a loose bundle of concerns.

  • There is a strategic focus. Issues are dealt with as part of a coherent agenda.

    Definition of needs

  • The needs of communities are defined by schools.

  • Schools engage with definitions of community needs other than their own

    Relationships with communities

  • When schools develop relationships with community members, they do so primarily with those whose concerns relate most closely to their own, particularly parents/carers.

  • Schools develop relationships with a wide range of community members, organisations and stakeholders


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Loose collaboration

School focus

Community focus

Formal organisation

Four ideal types of community-oriented NLCs


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Some reflections

  • Traditional school community links have disappeared – via LEAs & catchment areas

  • ‘Corner shop’ schooling seems inadequate

  • Alternatives remain ill-defined

  • Questions are urgent as last vestiges of LEA control disappear