05 SES 04 A, School-Community Relations and Partnerships
Parallel Paper Session
Community Schools, extended Schools, full service schools: all these labels refer to schools that open up to the world and where collaboration between different partners, linked to the lives of children and youngsters and their families, is a central point.
The development of community schools in Flanders and Brussels is relatively new. Of course there existed schools that collaborated with other partners, that widened their scope, that wanted to support the integral development of children and youngsters. But at the policy level, interest in the concept developed in 2004. A first literature study (Pirard et all, 2004) on the possibilities of the concept ‘community schools’ for Flanders was carried out. The authors concluded that community schools are a typical ‘bottom-up’ process, that cannot be enforced by regulations. But, the researchers claimed that the government can facilitate the development by eliminating judicial obstacles, making it easier to combine different financial sources etc. From 2006 until 2009 the Flemish minister of Education, granted subsidies for 17 pilot projects. These projects where supported by our centre that did the follow up of the development of these community schools, made an evaluation and that, at the same time, developed a framework for Flanders and Brussels. The framework that was developed, is mainly based on experiences in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (Joos, Ernalsteen, et all. , 2006; Joos & Ernalsteen, 2010): “A community school aims at ameliorating the broad development of all children and youngsters by supporting and/or creating a broad learning and living environment in which children and youngsters can gain a wide range of learning and living experiences. In order to achieve this goal a broad network is established between organizations and authorities from the various sectors that jointly shape and support the learning/living of children and youngsters. “
In the final report (Joos, Ernalsteen, Engels & Morreel, 2010) recommendations about the implementation of community schools in Flanders and Brussels were written. The pilot projects showed that the local authorities played an important role, as the local context (the neighbourhood) plays an important role in what the focus of community schools is, as they focus on the immediate needs of children and youngsters in a specific environment.
In 2011 we did a research on the role of local authorities (municipalities) in the development of community schools. In this paper we discuss the results. Our research questions were:
- Is there a common framework on ‘community schools’ at the municipality? What definitions are used?
- Why does the municipality supports community schools? Is it in order to tackle social inequalities? And how is this goal evaluated? The common claim for extended schools is that the services and activities they offer are capable of overcoming social inequity that children, families and communities experience. However, it is not totally clear if extended schools can tackle the inequalities in society and education (Dyson, 2011).
- Do different services of the municipality cooperate to develop community schools?
- Is there a support structure for community schools?
Bentley, Tom (1998). Learning beyond the classroom. Education for a changing world. Routledge: London. Dyson, A. (2011). Full Service and Extended Schools: The Path to Equity? In: K. Van den Branden, P. Van Avermaet & M. Van Houtte: Equity and Excellence in Education. Towards Maximal Learning Opportunities for All Students. UK: Routledge. Joos, A., Ernalsteen, V., Lanssens, A., Engels, M. (2006). Community Schools in Flanders and Brussels. A framework for Development. Brussels: Flemish Government/Education and Training Joos, A. & Ernalsteen, V. (2010). Wat is een Brede School? Een referentiekader. Gent: Steunpunt Diversiteit & Leren. Joos, Annelies; Ernalsteen, Veerle; Engels, Marjan en Morreel, Evelyn (2010). Eindrapport Brede School. Verslaggeving en aanbevelingen na drie proefprojecten Brede School in Vlaanderen en Brussel. Steunpunt GOK/Steunpunt Diversiteit en Leren: Leuven/Gent. Joos, A., Ernalsteen, V., Engels, M. & Morreel, E. (2010) .De impact van Brede School. Een verkennend onderzoek. Gent: Steunpunt Diversiteit & Leren. Pirard, F., Ruelens, L. &Nicaise, I. (2004). Naar een brede school in Vlaanderen. Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Hoger Instituut voor de Arbeid. Rapley, T. (2007). Doing conversation, discourse and document analysis. The Sage Qualitative Research Kit. London: Sage Publications. Swanborn, P. (1994). Methoden van sociaal-wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Boom: Meppel.
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