Community Cohesion in Schools
All schools in England have a duty to promote Community Cohesion, as outlined in section 21(4) of the Education Act 2002:
‘The governing body of a maintained school shall, in discharging their functions relating to the conduct of the school –
- promote the well-being of pupils at the school, and
- in the case of a school in England, promote community cohesion
By Community Cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.
Leicestershire County Council has a clear commitment to promoting Community Cohesion, across all its areas of work with its different communities, and this includes school communities.
Our approach recognises and seeks to promote the value and importance of community cohesion per se. In other words, whether or not it is a formal stipulation of educational work, whether or not it is a formal Ofsted requirement now or in the future, we would argue very strongly that community cohesion work brings very many benefits to the education of children and young people, both in the classroom and in their all-round appreciation and understanding of the world around them. It adds valuable extra dimensions to curriculum work in all subjects, but probably more specifically in Religious Education, PSHE, History, Geography, Languages and in broad areas such as art, drama, dance and sport.
It also helps to link each school into the wider social context within which it belongs, whether that be its immediate catchment area, its local community, its city, county and so on and so forth. It can help to ensure that all involved in the school context (pupils, teachers, parents, governors and other stakeholders) have a better understanding of areas of discrimination, of cultural diversity and of global issues. Community cohesion work can therefore play a positive part in helping everyone in terms of personal development and in the development of communities and the world in which we live.
Leicestershire Together’s Community Cohesion Framework
Leicestershire Together is the Local Strategic Partnership for Leicestershire, and consists of a partnership between the county’s 8 local councils, the NHS, the Police, the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, the Chamber of Commerce, the Learning and Skills Council, Connexions, the equivalent Leicester City Partnership and the voluntary sector. The partnership works together to improve our schools, colleges, businesses, shops, hospitals, roads, parks, homes, villages and towns and help make people in Leicestershire feel included, richer, safer, better trained, healthier and happier.
Leicestershire Together has established its own Community Cohesion Framework which outlines the partnership’s intentions towards helping to support and promote effective community cohesion across all of Leicestershire’s communities. This includes details on how we will aim to work with schools and young people around the issue of cohesion.
There are more details about Leicestershire Together’s approach to Community Cohesion on the LT website, including: a series of factsheets about different religions, beliefs and, an Interfaith and International Calendar, and details about the Inter Faith Forum for Leicestershire.
The Policy & Partnerships Team at Leicestershire County Council also have contact details for a wide variety of organisations, community groups and individuals (including Black and Minority Ethnic Communities, Asylum Seekers, Refugees and the Gypsy & Traveller Community) across Leicester City and Leicestershire County, who could be approached with regards to participating in joint work with schools.
For instance, if a school is involved in work related to Africa, we have details of various African/Afro-Caribbean community organisations, who we can put schools in touch with. This includes organisations who can assist with culturally appropriate information on language, food, music, etc.
This doesn't necessarily have to be curriculum or lesson-based work. It could also be an opportunity for schools to provide their facilities as a venue for a concert, performance or event designed for the local community as a whole (i.e. as part of Extended Schools).
Page Last Updated: 23 March 2010