It takes a village to raise a child… It has taken many years of mistakes in town planning and school design to realise that healthy thriving communities provide enormous benefits in terms of education, health and reduction in crime. The school when at the hub of communities can function not only more effectively but also more efficiently.
Schools that have been successful in building communities we have categorised in the following ways.
Improving the sense of community within the school (Common Ethos)
Ideas here include introducing HOUSE SYSTEMS in which students of mixed age form groups within the school. HUMAN SCALE EDUCATION which is a move towards ensuring that any one student is only expected to be in communities of 90 people (some use 120). This has led to SMALL SCHOOL and SCHOOL WITHIN A SCHOOL projects. The Austrian school of maths and science is one such example as is Dandenong high school. Some such as the GIVE A MAN A FISH schools have created self supporting communities.
Improving links to intgrate the school in its community
High tech high is an example here of a school that has invited local companies to engage with the school and provide projects and guidance for students. Many other examples including LUMIAR schools in Brazil
Some recent school designs have attempted to reclaim the heart of the community. Hadley Learning Community in Telford http://www.hadleylearningcommunity.org.uk/ has a co-located primary school, secondary school, special school, nursary, medical centre and community health centre on the same site.
The following blog page makes a useful case for the importance of relationships in schools.