Community cohesion issues and practice
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Community Cohesion: Issues and Practice. Sir Keith Ajegbo. Why Community Cohesion now?. 7/7 and the fear of terrorism and extremism related to religion Trevor Phillips: ‘Sleepwalking to segregation’

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Why Community Cohesion now?

7/7 and the fear of terrorism and extremism related to religion

Trevor Phillips: ‘Sleepwalking to segregation’

Changing patterns of immigration-immigration as a major political issue – fears around the BNP and local council elections

Fears around teenage gang killings, teenage pregnancy, binge drinking and community relationship

Concerns about the achievement gap of pupils on free school meals including white underachievement.

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Review for the Secretary of State

  • How is ethnic, religious and cultural diversity addressed in the school curriculum?

  • Should British modern, social and cultural history be the 4th pillar of citizenship?

    Response: while schools should celebrate difference they must also explore what brings us together, what we share and how we create communities.

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What are schools for?

  • What are the wider responsibilities of school to society?

    Children’s Plan: Schools at the heart of their


    Development of pupils as active and responsible citizens

    Creating more cohesive and resilient communities

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Pulling policy strands together

  • How do schools in their visioning and planning pull together the demands on them?

    Every child matters

    Personalised learning

    Extended schooling


    Community cohesion

    Difference, pupil voice, pupil participation, enjoying and achieving, positive contribution, community involvement

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What are the implications of community?

  • School community

  • Community in which school is located

  • UK community

  • Global community

    How does the school operate in relation to local communities? How does it deal with issues of national identity? How does this link with ideas of global citizenship?

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The Big Themes

  • Religion and non religion

  • Ethnicity and culture

  • Socio economic status

    These can be controversial areas. How does the school deal with controversial issues?

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Teaching, learning and the curriculum

  • Perspectives of some students

    They see Africa as poor, Asia as flooded and England as snobby whites and poor blacks’

    ‘I’m black I live in London-that’s my home. My parents are from the Caribbean but I’m really African. I’m a Christian, but I’m E7 -that’s where I hang they’re my people. That’s who I am.’

    ‘I do feel sometimes that there is no white history. There’s either black history month or they do Muslims and Sikhs.’

    ‘You’re bored with it, you’re just British.’

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Challenges: Leadership

  • The conclusion in our report was that issues of race and identity are often not high on schools’ agendas. Need to be regardless of location and intake

  • The values that the head creates in the school are crucial in creating an ethos and curriculum that combats both personal and institutional racism and religious intolerance, celebrates diversity and practices inclusion. Will the new duty to promote community cohesion act as a lever?

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Challenges: teachers

  • 36% of teachers felt well equipped to teach in multi cultural schools following their Teacher Training.

  • Are teachers across the board equipped to deal with sensitive and controversial issues in the classroom? Should they be?

  • Does the system make the best use of minority ethnic teachers in terms of valuing their experience and contribution?

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Challenges: the curriculum

Who in the school ensures coherence across the curriculum, picking up issues from local to global

Keystage 3 concepts:

History: understanding the diverse experiences and ideas and beliefs and attitudes---

Geography: appreciating the differences and similarities between people, places ---

English: Literature in English---reflects the experiences of people from many different countries

RE: encouraged pupils to devlop their sense of identity and belonging

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Citizenship education as a driver for change

  • Citizenship education is about understanding community and active participation in the community.

  • It is about pupil voice and pupil involvement in issues and ideas that affect their lives.

    Where does your school stand in its development of citizenship?

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Identity and Diversity: Living together in the UK

  • Rationale: Britain has committed itself to certain values- respect for the law, democratic political structures, values of mutual tolerance, equal rights. These should be subject to discussion and debate through looking at aspects of modern British history.

    The aspects of modern British history:

  • The UK as a multi national state.

  • Immigration, Commonwealth and the legacy of Empire

  • The European Union

  • Extending the franchise (eg the legacy of slavery, universal suffrage, equal opportunities legislation

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Curriculum Support

  • QCA Cross curriculum dimensions (revised 1st September)

    Identity and Cultural Diversity

    Case studies

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Who Do We Think We Are?

  • The week in June attracted around 500 schools.

  • Website:

  • Vast array of resources at sharp end of issues:

    School and community

    Relationships, belonging and faith

    History and settlement

    Britishness, national identity/values; 2012 Olympics

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Materials on the website

  • Local history, local archives: eg Northamptonshire Black History Project

  • Blackhistory4schools: looking afresh at the Elizabethans

  • Britishness and the flag

  • Materials on ‘understanding slavery’

  • A project from Hull looking at the stories of recent immigrants

  • Materials from rewind on racism

  • Materials from the global gateway

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School Linking Network


    Started in Bradford following 2001 disturbances

  • Gateway: 100 schools registered

  • Waves: Wave1 3 pilot authorities, Wave 2 10 authorities, Wave 3 10 authorities

    Sponsored by DCSF, money for authorities involved + CPD for teachers

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Equity and Excellence

  • Community cohesion depends on equal chances.

  • A frightening statistic is that black pupils are three times more likely to be excluded from school than white pupils. (‘Getting it. Getting it right’ DCSF 2006; Guardian Sept 2008 report form Warwick University))

  • Black pupils are .3 times as likely to be on gifted and talented register.

  • Evidence that they are less likely to be in top streams.

  • In 2005 twice as many black men in prison as at university.

    Good practice at Preston Manor in Brent

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Equity and Excellence 2

  • There is an achievement gap for Roma, Gypsy and travellers of Irish heritage pupils and for Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Black.

  • These pupils are almost 3 times less likely to do maths and science at level 3.

  • What is the relationship between institutional racism and community cohesion?

  • How do we deal with white underachievement?

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Engagement and Extended Services

  • How far should schools travel fromstandards agenda?

  • Where should student voice stand?

  • Does the concept of extended schools play in to community cohesion? Is it a vehicle for bringing together families who would not otherwise meet?

  • Is the BSF model for schools to become the community hub bringing together services and community activity?

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Engagement and Extended Services 2

  • At a conference focussed on raising achievement of Somali pupils 2 schools (Richard Atkins Primary in Lambeth, Little Ilford Secondary in Newham) indicated how they used extended schooling to raise achievement and build community cohesion.

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The Challenge

  • The challenge for schools is, while ensuring all children achieve, to work in their communities to create new concepts of what living together and national identity mean.