The Development of Community Education and Staff Development within L.E.A. Organisational Units

Ringrose, Arthur A. (1985). The Development of Community Education and Staff Development within L.E.A. Organisational Units. MPhil thesis The Open University.



The author draws upon his fundamental beliefs of developing human potential, the value of every individual and a Gestalt perception of community being more than the sum of its parts. Henry Morris held similar beliefs in his vision of Community Education to be developed through 'village colleges' in Cambridgeshire more than sixty years ago. The author asserts that our traditional closed mechanistic educational system is fundamentally flawed for the development of Community Education and change is needed towards a more open organic system in which the focus is upon people and how they as participants define their own educational needs and aspirations.

Through an analysis of the development of Community Education and its characteristics the author identifies as a key issue the tension between the community democratically organising its own curriculum and resources and the professionally dominated provision of education. The author draws attention to the need for L.E.A.s to develop a strategy based upon a participative partnership between 'community' and 'professionals' which devolves power to local organisational units of management controlling curriculum and resources and shifts the emphasis of staff development and training from being focussed on professionals towards everyone involved in the management process.

Through a holistic approach of 'unit training' staff development and training is proposed as both the agent and catalyst of change needed in the concepts and attitudes of those involved which will recognise new educational approaches enabling personal development, re-define ways and priorities of learning and help people make more effective contributions to a changing society.

The author has researched the literature and synthesised findings with his own research and practical experience, eclectically choosing from different philosophies to support his argument. The strategy evolved is related to current developments in Oxfordshire where the author is a L.E.A. adviser for Community Education.

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