Re-imagining school-community relations: The case of Wattle Plains School

Year: 2002

Author: McInerney, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Much is made of the importance of nurturing school-community relations. The Disadvantaged Schools Program was underpinned by a commitment to participatory decision-making and a language of 'partnerships' and 'empowerment' seeps through rationales for devolved school systems. There is little doubt that the notion of school as a collaborative learning community has entered the lexicon of educators alongside a contradictory model of the school as a business organisation touting for customers in a market economy. What is happening around the notion of school-community today? Is it possible for schools to contest the utilitarian and individualistic values of the neo-liberal state? How might schools develop an 'ethos of community' that strengthens social bonds and promotes democratic practices? This paper explores the metaphors in play around school-community (Hattam, 1999), and describes how one particular school has promoted school-community dialogue and enacted curriculum that is responsive to the cultural, social and economic concerns of the community.