Schools and cohesion
A new duty on schools to promote community cohesion
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 introduced a duty on all maintained schools in England to promote community cohesion and on Ofsted, to report on the contributions made in this area. The duty on schools came into effect on 1 September 2007 and the duty on Ofsted is due to commence in September 2008.
Many schools already work in ways that promote community cohesion and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) wants all schools to build on the best of that practice, so that all pupils understand and appreciate others from different backgrounds with a sense of shared values, fulfilling their potential and feeling part of a community, at a local, national and international level.
Guidance to support schools in implementing the duty was published on 19 July 2007. This guidance defines what is meant by community cohesion and how schools can contribute towards it through their teaching and learning, their work to raise standards and ethos, engagement with the community and extended services.
Alongside the guidance there is a range of case study examples of work that many schools are doing in this area.
Further guidance for schools
An online resource pack published in April 2008 provides schools with additional practical advice, information and support to help them better meet their duty to promote community cohesion. The pack will help school leaders and governors to review their existing work and identify ways of improving their practice and provision to better promote community cohesion. There are also further case studies which provide examples of good practice in meeting the duty.
The school linking programme, which was announced in October 2007, will help support schools and local authorities to develop linking partnerships between schools, one way they can fulfill this new law. The programme is supported by the Schools Linking Network.
On an international level, working with an international partner school gives a useful dimension to community cohesion on Britain's identity. It could lead into work on the Olympic ideals, global citizenship, sustainability and futures. The Global Gateway team can also advise on funding available for international links. The service is managed by the British Council on behalf of the DCSF.