Shared Facilities, School and Community: Practice and Implications.

Young, Ian William (1981). Shared Facilities, School and Community: Practice and Implications. BPhil thesis The Open University.



"Shared Facilities" - an exciting educational experience ora political manoeuvre for economic expediency? In the fifty years since Henry Morris promoted the concept of opening the school to the community, his idea has been interpreted in many forms.

This research was intended to examine the various methods used in England and Wales to implement the philosophy of "shared use" of school premises. The examination of the schemes in operation shows their varying characteristics according to the local authorities' individual interpretations of the concept of the community school.

Apart from a fairly extensive system of Community Colleges in Cambridgeshire, a legacy of Henry Morris, community schools were not widely developed until the Plowden Commission Report on Primary Education (1967) recommended that the idea of community schools should be promoted as part of an attempt to involve parents more closely in the education of their children. Plowden asserted the importance of discovering ways of linking home and school and of gaining the understanding and support of parents through an active involvement with the school rather than a passive acceptance of the school’s policies. This need was felt to be greatest in "educational priority areas", i.e. areas with poor housing and social conditions.

L.E.As were further encouraged to consider the establishment of community schools in the Ministry Circular 2/70, "A Chance to Share".

One interpretation of "community school" is that of "shared use", i.e. opening the school premises and facilities to the wider community. In the investigation an attempt will be made to discover whether "shared use" does encourage parents to become involved in the education of their children through their increased contact with the school. The investigations at Boldon and Hedworthfield were an attempt to discover whether parental contact with the school through "shared use" significantly benefited child and school.

Following a pilot survey conducted at Hedworthfield School, the Boldon survey included a questionnaire to parents of pupils in the school, observation of the scheme in operation, discussions with participants and a thorough investigation of all the literature pertaining to the inception of the scheme.

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