05 SES 02 A, Tackling and Preventing Educational Disadvavtage
Parallel Paper Session
This paper explores how the model underpinning the internationally renowned ‘Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) – and its role out across the United States in the form of government-sponsored ‘Promise Neighbourhoods’ (HCZ et. al, 2010, Page and Stone 2010) – might stimulate area-based efforts to tackle educational disadvantage in Europe. HCZ is a geographically-based, non-profit organisation, which serves a c.100 block area of Harlem, New York, housing predominantly low-income black families. HCZ offers them access to an interlocking network of education, health, family, and social welfare services, seeing excellent, high-attaining schools and strong and effective social and community services, as essential to transforming educational outcomes. It is designed not simply to offer wrap-around services in the sense of school-driven extended services, but to create a ‘pipeline’ of support for children from birth to college entry. Specifically, taking England as a case, this paper explores how the HCZ model might inform future developments around education-focused, area-based approaches to tackling disadvantage. In doing so, it will also make a timely contribution to debates across Europe. For example, Dobbie and Fryer (2010) report that the Netherlands and Hungary are developing plans similar to the HCZ model, and education area-based initiatives have been a recent focus within the Technical Assistance Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument of the European Commission's Enlargement Programme.
In many respect, the ideals underpinning HCZ are already familiar across Europe. Many European countries have a long history of area-based initiatives, with emphases varying from internal school improvement, to locally-driven, community-oriented partnership working (Demeuse et al. 2009, Dyson et al. 2012, Lupton, 2010). Multi-agency working and extended schools/services have also been central to efforts to address educational disadvantage (Cummings et al. 2011). Along with this, there is also a shared experience of considerable tensions in trying to balance local and national concerns; ‘upscale’ locally-developed interventions; and, in the face of patchy outcomes data, develop a strong evidence-based justification for area-working (Bénabou et al. 2005, Power et al. 2005).
Reflecting this, questions currently abound about how far resources should be directed to areas, or to vulnerable children or families per se. In England, for example, while there is policy rhetoric around localism and community management, action is now more likely to be focused on ‘troubled families’. This clearly contrasts with the commitment to area-based working in the U.S., seen in the drive (supported by $30million in federal funds in 2011) to enable deprived districts to follow the HCZ model and become ‘Promise Neighborhoods’.
To explore what Promise Neighborhoods might bring to an English context, Save the Children UK sponsored the study reported in this paper. Specifically it addresses the following research questions:
- What would a model for Promise Neighbourhoods in England look like?
- What foundations are there that can be built upon?
- What would need to happen to support the model’s implementation?
- What powers would schools need?
- How can partnerships be created and sustained?
- What governance arrangements would be needed?
How can the pitfalls encountered by previous interventions be avoided?
Bénabou, R., Kramarz, F. & Prost, C. (2005) The French Zones d'Education Prioritaire: Much ado about nothing? CEPR Discussion Paper No. 5085. Downloaded 25 May 2008 from: www.cepr.org/pubs/dps/DP5085.asp. Cummings, C., Dyson, A. & Todd, L. (2011) Beyond the school gates: Can full service and extended schools overcome disadvantage? (London, Routledge). Demeuse, M., Frandji, D., Greger, D. & Rochex, J.-Y. (Eds.) (2009) Évolution des politiques d’éducation prioritaire en Europe: Conceptions, mises en œuvres, débats (Lyon, INRP). Dobbie, W. and Fryer, R. (2010) Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Increase Achievement Among the Poor? Evidence from the Harlem Children’s Zone. Harvard University Dyson, A., Raffo, C., & Rochex, J.-Y. (2012) "Les PEP à ciblage territorial." In Les politiques d’éducation prioritaire en Europe Tome II : Quel devenir pour l’égalité scolaire ?, Lyon: ENS Éditions, 2012. Harlem Children’s Zone, The Center for the Study of Social Policy, and PolicyLink (2010) Focusing on results in Promise Neighborhoods: Recommendations for the Federal Initiative Lupton, R. (2010). Area-based initiatives in English education: what place for place and space? In C. Raffo, A. Dyson, H. Gunter, D. Hall, L. Jones & A. Kalambouka (Eds.), Education and poverty in affluent countries. London: Routledge. Page, E. and Stone, A. (2010) From Harlem Children’s Zone to Promise Neighborhoods: Creating the Tipping Point for Success. Georgetown Public Policy Institute Power, S., Rees, G. & Taylor, C. (2005) New Labour and educational disadvantage: the limits of area-based initiatives, London Review of Education, 3(2), pp. 101-116. Whitehurst, G. and Croft, M. (2010) The Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Neighborhoods, and the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education
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