An email from Terry Freedman got me looking at the Every Child Matters project in the UK. This link to extended schools caught my eye. It is an interesting read about how the UK government want every school by 2010 to be offering a range of services outside of core schooling. I have said for a long time it seems silly to me that schools have huge resources in use from 9 - 3 and then they are mostly locked up the rest of the time.
In Christchurch there are a few initiatives underway to break down some of the barriers. One project is the partnership betwen the local council library service and the education department in a library partnership. The learning centres are community facilities as well as having close ties to the local schools. There must be so many more opportunities for schools to partner with local and central government and business to maximise the use of facilities and provide services to whole communities. I've wondered for a long time why, for example doctors and dentists are not located next to schools.
It is fun to think what we would build a school like if we could start from scratch and build a whole new community. I was a bit disappointed when I visited the Pegasus Town model and saw the layout of the proposed school. To me it looked like anywhere else in NZ and I thought they had missed an opportunity to really do something different. Maybe it is not too late I'm not sure. I am interested in anywhere else in the world where this has been tried or where local schools are doing innovative things to break down the walls and invite the community in.
Send me an email or comment on this blog if you do know of any examples.