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How do we break down the barriers between schools and the wider world – and help school leaders and students to build lasting local community partnerships?
In the context of tough accountability measures and tight budgets, schools are having to make difficult decisions about where to focus their money and efforts. All too often, the first things to go are non-teaching staff who provide ‘extras’ like family support, and partnerships with individuals and organisations in the local community and beyond.
But if schools lose these connections, they risk missing out on a whole range of opportunities to fulfil their core educational mission and make a contribution to their communities.
In collaboration with the ECIS (Educational Collaborative for International Schools), a new RSA research project Schools Without Walls set out to find schools, in the UK and overseas, where community engagement and external partnerships are core to their mission, and to report back on what they do, how and why they do it, and what the benefits are for students and the community.
At the RSA, drawing on insights from the report, and hearing first-hand from educators, school partners and local leaders, we’ll explore what it really takes to build and sustain such relationships. And we’ll ask how more schools in the UK might become Schools Without Walls – working successfully with partner organisations to improve outcomes and expand opportunities for young people, and to tackle challenges such as social exclusion and poverty.