Is Community Education going to Replace a Century old State Education in Scotland?

A revolution starts when the people set out to think the unthinkable. Such a notion is building its grounds in the city of douce Milngavie, a few miles north of Glasgow, Scotland.The intended closure of St Joseph, a 140 year old school has awakened a zeal among the parents , the motto to have a community school free from the hustles of unnecessary management interference.

For over 3 years , an unspoken dissatisfaction was gaining its momentum between the parents association and the East Dunbartonshire council , which finally busted out on the  council’s abrupt decision to shut down St Joseph primary school from the heart of the community , despite of having no issues with the maintenance costs or student capacity. As a part of the compensation, the council is providing free bus pass to the children  to the neighboring shared campus facility with another Catholic primary.

A lot of political drama had been enacted encircling the future of St Joseph primary school. During the time of elections in Scotland, Maureen Henry, vice-convener of the education committee, expressed her support to the school but later on, showed cold shoulder. The invalidated reasons for the closure of the school has backed the parents group along with the neighbors of the community, a strong reason to fight back for their cause and rise against the odds. To the people of Milngavie, the school has been the center for high-end education for generations and the thought of its non existence is a night mare.So the parents along with the support of the neighbors have devised a model of “Community partnership School”  which would be the first of its kind in Scotland. The model has also earned the support of Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP government.

Here are the 6 proposed objectives of “Community Partnership School” model:

  1. The school would receive core funding from central government backed up by extra funding from the third sector.
  2. This funding would enable it to deliver an imaginative and diverse educational service that would also address the needs of children with additional learning benefits.
  3. The primary aim of achieving academic excellence would remain intact, but the school management would also encourage non-academic attainment and to deliver nursery and out-of-school care.
  4. The model plan also aims in raising funds for an assortment of initiatives deemed to be beneficial to its pupils and also to the wider community.
  5. The school would be handed over via a public sector asset transfer or through the new powers that are expected to be contained within the forthcoming community empowerment bill. Indeed, it would be the model for what the new community empowerment legislation is seeking to achieve.
    1. The new community school would be governed by a board of management comprising parents, staff, appointed members and the head teacher.

The challenge to the “one-size-fits-all” approach to deliver education in Scotland might face severe changes in near future. It might be the beginning of the end of state education that has served the nation for more than a century. The seed of “community school” has been plot in the minds of the people. Now time will reveal how far will this idea be imprinted in the society by the Scottish government.


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