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Schools Role On Promoting Community Cohesion Education Essay

This paper is about the importance of a school in a nighbourhood for community cohesion. This paper examine the concept of school be a significant role on promoting interactions among diversity of local communities and its impact on promoting community cohesion. It is a common view when people always think that school has played as a central hub in the neighbourhood. This can become far reaching consequences when a change occurs for a better school. There are from physical characteristics of a school has usually become one of the most imposing structures in a neighbourhood, however what it beyond doubt is cannot be seen by looking at it. What is not seen is that a school is the heart and soul of a community; it is the constitution that cultivates people future. Without compromising on the existing relationship between school with students, parents and the wider community, the questions on how to add values from this good relationship in direction of social dimension can be very interesting as an idea. Creating a community environment from schools will need more than just put up a building. It does have to be explored. The potential role of school as a community hub can be related to meet these purposes. Grounded theory as methodology Therefore the beyond concept of schools must be developed to the understanding of having community cohesion and relatively towards a sustainable community.

Introduction

The importance of a school in a community cannot be overestimated. The sustainability of a community has been connected to the school environment (Wheeler 2009). Many people move into neighborhoods because of the school located in that area. A good school is considered an essential component of any society. It is a where new people in a community begin the process of bonding into a neighborhood. A sense of belonging is one of the fundamental elements of human existence (Campbell 2006). Schools provide a platform for this element as a melting pot where social skills are developed and a sense of pride is felt. Community has a number of dimensions from school perspective and it is important to understand before discussing the right issues related to school and community cohesion. In the BSF Building Bulletin a section on consultation advises that ‘All potential users in the community should be consulted in designing school for the future. This is because, beside school buildings inspiring learning process, they should also nurture every pupil and member of staff (DFES 2003 ). In the end, school buildings should be a source of pride and a practical resource for the community.

Community Cohesion common issues

Community cohesion brings a meaning of 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 (Hudson, Phillips et al. 2007). Often there is a misconception that community cohesion is only about ‘race relations’. Community cohesion is to do with much more than race and social equality. It is must about breaking down barriers and building relations between and within communities – rich/poor, old/young, transient /permanent, new comers/established residents, race/race, faith/faith etc. It is also about celebrating and valuing differences and developing a common sense of belonging based on shared values for all communities. Community cohesion lies at the heart of creating a safe and strong neighborhood and it is about listening to and addressing the concerns of marginalized sections of the community.

One of the common issues concerning on community cohesion are in places where people used to live nowadays have not really changes in the sense of sustainable communities’ agenda. Such issues like town and city’s poor economy and vulnerability to low cost international competition creates an uneasy perspective for building strong inter-cultural relationships and social inclusion. Despite of having high levels of unemployment and lack of work opportunities which linked to extensive poverty and deprivation, people in the communities also feels threatened in competition for limited jobs opportunities and public resources especially for those who are from small sizeable sections of the population. These are an under pressure situations and a common phenomenon for most of the deprived and undeveloped places could be. In addition, new settlers put further strains on already stretched public services, particularly in poor neighborhoods which create resentment from existing communities. One of the main mechanisms for improving community cohesion must be to strengthen economic development and create more employment opportunities within the city. It is important that the major regeneration projects in plans will be delivered on time and to a high quality that lifts general expectations and alters external and internal perceptions of the city.

On the other hand, extensive racial segregation makes it difficult to address many other forms of social division and institutional separation. When people live apart, the scope for interaction between different cultural, ethnic and religious communities in schools, recreation, entertainment and other aspects of everyday life is diminished. It is also harder to establish a shared vision for the neighbourhood, common values and aspirations, and a sense of belonging. Although integration cannot be imposed on people, with imagination and leadership there are bound to be measures that can be taken to encourage it. Greater social interaction and cross-cultural initiatives may be a useful first step, through music, sport, learning, drama and other creative activities. This should help to boost the number of informal networks to complement the more formal ones that exist.

Good mainstream public services can make a big difference to the life chances and living standards of disadvantaged groups, and thereby reduce inequalities and facilitate social cohesion. Leicester faces continuing challenges in education, health, social services, public transport, housing and community safety. Better coordination of services can enhance their quality and more transparent decisions can help to avoid suspicion of bias and unfairness. The balance between targeted and universal provision needs to be kept under regular review.

This author stressed on the relationship of schools to the social and economic well-being of people in rural area. According to him, schools as civic infrastructures have to be understood on its effects on community welfare. There was an original study date back to early community studies by C. Wright Mills and Melville Ulmer (194611970). They showed that communities with strong civic infrastructures manifested higher levels of wellbeing and welfare. Business enterprises are embedded in institutional and organizational networks (Piore & Sabel. 1984), and, the community is the source of personal identity, the topic of social discourse, and the foundation for social cohesion (Barber. 1995). This author emphasized there is an important to identify perceptions on what is school means to people especially who lives in a basic condition environment.

This paper proposed that a research that’s fits with a broader line of inquiry that is focused on understanding the effects of school roles as community hub on community cohesion need to be investigated. The contribution will be important for policymakers, educational administrators and local communities to understand that schools are relatively can make a lot of influences on community issues within and outside its walls (see Fuller, 1982).

For the smallest rural communities, the presence of a school is associated with many social and economic benefits. Housing values an: considerably higher and municipal infrastructure is mort developed in small villages with schools. The occupational structure in these communities is qualitatively different than in places without schools. Not only are there more people employed in the more favorable occupational categories, but there is more employment in "civic" occupation. The civic occupations are those held by the economically independent middle class. While average household income is not markedly different across places with and without schools, income inequality and welfare dependence is lower in villages with schools. In the larger rural communities, the benefits of a school are apparent, though the differences between places with schools and without schools are sometimes not as dramatic as those found for the smallest villages. It could be that in the larger communities there are other civic places such as libraries, parks, and service clubs that contribute to community welfare. Certainly, we know that there are population thresholds for different civic institutions (Warren,1995). Nevertheless, on virtually every indicator of social and economic well-being, larger rural communities that have schools ranked higher than communities without schools.

Given the positive attributes associated with school it is not surprising that when threatened by consolidation most small rural communities mount vigorous campaigns to keep their schools open (Peshkin. 19H2). When challenges to school closings move into the legal arena. The last results reported here can be used to begin to quantify some of the impacts of losing a school might have on community viability. In New York, for example, legislation was recently passed which stipulates that a decision by a board of education to close a school in one community and consolidate enrollment in another community must undergo a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). The community that 1oses a school must be mitigated for that loss, while school superintendents and boards of education may believe they have good reasons for consolidation (Cummins. 1998), the SEQR process insures that a village that lose sits school and its residents are compensated for their losses.

School as Learning Organisation

A school is defined as any place designated for learning (Sciarra and Seirup 2008). The range of institutions covered by the term varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, the term school refers primarily to pre-university institutions, and these can for the most part be divided into primary schools (sometimes further divided into infant school and junior school) and secondary schools. School performance is monitored by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education. In North America, the term school refers to any institute of education, at any level, and covers all of the following: preschool (for toddlers), kindergarten, elementary school, middle school (also called intermediate school or junior high school, depending on specific age groups and geographic region), high school, college, university, and graduate school. In the US, school performance through high school is generally monitored by each state's Department of Education and by regional accreditation associations which are not governmental agencies but effectively have quasi-governmental powers (Silins, Zarins et al. 2002). Learning organisations were defined as schools that: employ processes of environmental scanning; develop shared goals; establish collaborative teaching and learning environments; encourage initiatives and risk taking; regularly review all aspects related to and influencing the work of the school; recognise and reinforce good work; and, provide opportunities for continuing professional development.

School and Community

This paper concerned with the term ‘community’ for school and it used to be from a number of dimensions including:

the school community – the children and young people it serves, their parents, carers and families, the school’s staff and governing body, and community users of the school’s facilities and services;

The community within which the school is located – the school in its geographical community and the people who live or work in that area. This applies not just to the immediate neighbourhood but also to the city or local authority area within which a school is located;

the UK community – all schools are by definition part of this community; and

The global community – formed by EU and international links.

In addition, schools themselves create communities – for example, the networks formed by similar or different types of schools, by schools that are part of the specialist schools network, or by schools that work collaboratively in clusters or in other models of partnership. Many schools will operate across all of the above dimensions, for example by providing extended services for the local community and forging links with other schools regionally or internationally. Schools should not limit themselves to one particular dimension but may want to consider the initial dimensions first – acting within the school and the area where the school is located – before considering the wider community, EU and international links (CIRCLE 2003). Race and faith are often seen as the most frequent friction points between communities, and the most visible sources of tension. However, discrimination and prejudice can be experienced by other groups (Putnam 1997) – including the disabled, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities and different age and gender groups.

Schools have therefore be designed its facilities in the sense of recognizing where other strands of the equalities agenda – including gender, sexual orientation, disability and age – are interconnected with the aspiration to promote community cohesion,. School in the case of many occasions should note that the focus of its additional intention has to promote community cohesion across different cultures, ethnic, religious or nonreligious and socio-economic groups. These could further support the concept that community-wide efforts need to be launched to affect changes in the normative, role model and opportunity structures of community social environments in order to curb any social issues such as adolescent alcohol and drug use (Roski, Perry et al. 1997). Outside the walls of the school itself, social connections with families and communities are an equally important educational resource.

School and Community Cohesion

Community relations. Community involvement. Community engagement. Community partnerships. Regardless of what people may describe it, most of people in a community need well-planned and well-structured programs in place, to promote and nurture community understanding and support for schools (Adolescence 2009). The Education and Inspections Act 2006 been introduced a duty on all maintained schools in the UK to promote community cohesion and on The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools In England, to report on the contributions made in this area (Ofsted 2009). The duty on schools came into effect on 1st September 2007 and the duty on Ofsted is due to commence in September 2008. Since then many schools already work in ways that promote community cohesion and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has urged 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. Adding to that, in order to define the meaning of community cohesion, a guidance to support schools in implementing the duty on community cohesion in the UK was published on 19 July 2007 (Ofsted 2009). 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. Schools played a major part in developing cohesive communities, for example in:

opening access to education and employment;

developing skills to overcome poverty and social inequalities;

promoting social and cultural diversity;

providing access to ICT;

facilitating the integration of new communities (e.g. refugees and Travelers);

providing premises or facilities for use by a wide range of users, for instance people from various ethnic groups and of different ages; and

Being recognised in school context to develop community cohesion through out on working together between teachers, pupils and parents and the wider community, the advantages of this relationship must have to be continued in promoting the same intention to local communities who live in surrounding area.

A wide range of case studies has shown the significant impact of the relationship between teachers, pupils, parents and the wider comunity. Table 1.0 summarized most of the recent case studies referred by the DSCF.

Case studies

Summary

1

School Linking: Cultural Detectives

Two UK schools with different locations and compositions linked and undertook a 'cultural detectives' project to look at their historical and geographical connections.

2

Ilderton Primary School

The aim of the project was ensure communications between the elderly people of the housing unit and primary school children, to break down stereotypes and promote dialogue.

3

Making a Difference: Parental support and personalized learning

The project aimed to engage underachieving Foundation Stage 2 children and their parents living in deprived areas, to enable them to participate in learning. The aim was to remove barriers to access and participation.

4

St George's CofE

The aim of this intergeneration project was for children to interview their parents/grandparents to ascertain their origins. A 'Heritage Book' was developed which celebrates the differences and similarities within the school and local community.

5

Forest Community Primary School

The project used family history and movement to promote and celebrate diversity within the school. The community with English as an additional language (EAL) was welcomed and made to feel part of the wider community

6

8 til Late Mentoring Project

The aim of the project is to build resilience around young people to prevent them from joining gangs and being involved in gun crime.

7

Durham County Council

This project uses theatre, arts and storytelling to promote good relations between different groups and challenge racist behavior.

8

Seahouses Middle School

The aim is to provide community-based initiatives to ensure that pupils, in all four year groups, and their parents participate in activities which develop their social skills.

9

Yeading Junior

Yeading Junior School has put together a core team who are key to raising ethnic minority achievement (EMA) through a matrix of outreach and support services.

Table 1.0 Case studies project on Community cohesion and school.

Source http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/Communitycohesion/

Despite schools in giving advantages by the government on the relationship between its pupils, parents and the wider community such as the stakeholders towards promoting community cohesion, there is also need to spread its influence on helping out diversity from local communities aspects either in rural or urban area (Miller 1993). Miller (1993) stated that school in this case need to become more sensitive and reliable on its contribution towards minimizing the impact of social problem and issues in its area from outside of the school vicinity.

In this paper, the role of school as community hub has been seen as a better option place of an idea to let people in the local community to interact and keep up a correspondence within diversity in the neighborhood. There are number of choices of places and facilities that can be provided as community hub and used by local communities as leisure and social purposes, including community centres and meeting places, community halls, community learning centres, adventure play centres and leisure centres (SPM 2007). School as resources need to be taken seriously as a place to contribute as same impact as other facilities and letting on promoting community cohesion as on going process (Adelman and Taylor 1996). Looking at school roles as community hub, does not mean that giving local communities chances to use its space for their own purposes but to let themselves more interact to each other across differences in ethnicities and personal needs. Schools can make and adding values to the relationship in the existing community cohesion purposes. School has a potential role as community hub and its impact on wider community in the neighborhood (Dryfoos 1999). The challenge will be in a matter how school as the hub of the community- will embraces the concept of providing a ‘one stop shop’ in terms of health, education, well-being and social services from the whole community concept (Smith 2006). Schools need to provide a range of services and activities which often beyond the school day, it should helps the needs of building collaborative communities.

School as Community Hub

The role of the school within its programs to promote something to do with community interactions is changing from time to time. Dryfoos (1999) in Schuch (2003) stressed out that in the past, less than one-third of all public schools in America provided insufficient space likely to small child care programs, mostly for children from kindergarten to third grade (Schuch 2003). More recently, community empowerment for change have led schools to open their doors to all people who have connections, both within and outside of school period (Derick W. Brinkerhoff and Azfar 2006). It is possible that all schools of the future will be open extended hours, serving as true community hubs. School as Community hub – Ofsted view is that the project as a whole is bringing hope and optimism to an area of social and economic difficulty and is impacting on the regeneration of the area.  As such it can be viewed as a blueprint for the future (DoH 2006).

Farrell et al. (2007) stated a community hub can be defined as: A conveniently located public place that is recognized and valued in the local community as a gathering place for people and an access point for a wide range of community activities, programs, services and events.

Community hub is a commonly used term in contemporary urban design and community planning. However, as with many commonly used terms, it can mean different things in different contexts and there is no widely accepted definition. To examine the derivation of the term, ‘community’ implies something that is publicly owned and designed and used to address the needs of a local population. ‘Hub’ implies a central position where things come together. In short community hub is about a centrally located, publicly owned place where a variety of activities and services come together for the purpose of addressing the needs of a local population (Farrell, Tayler et al. 2007). Most of community hubs needs a physical space like a room or buildings to support activities and can be accessed freely. The term “community hub”, however, can bring to another understanding especially in an organizational context, buildings normally structured form part of a portfolio and are evaluated in terms of their asset value. The tools and metrics for considering the use value of buildings are less well understood and developed. However, the value added to the business, and the role of construction in this respect, has been the subject of considerable recent interest in the United Kingdom (Alexander 2008). These inter-related issues are increasingly addressed in, for example in regeneration literature which emphasizes the need to build human and social capital and to develop inclusive approaches to development (Alexander and Brown 2006). In an urban context, buildings are part of the urban fabric and create the physical infrastructure for the development of communities. The need to consider cultural differences emerged from the cases and workshops, in terms of both region and ethnicity (Alexander 2008). Therefore the latest development on people perceptions with the significance of building diversity and providing the right criteria on community hubs physically in their neighborhoods area should be giving a lot of concerned in the future. The expectations are on how the purposes of community hub should be treated ideally as an integrated facility that would be built on the existing school site which specifically designed to maximize shared spaces and provide varying options for entry, exit and parking. Especially in a neighborhood environment that having issues in diversity and social capital and should be delivered by the local Council. The challenges may be when people in the community need to put on their thinking caps and give some ideas of how to maximise the use of the community hub from themselves for the benefit of their own community. Community hub maybe would not be just like day centres or places like cafes or drop in centres. It should be a place where people can meet up with their friends and make new ones or a place where people can get information and support or a place where people with learning disabilities and their support workers can meet up with them.

Schools in this context have being recognised and have been seen as an opportunity to create as the hub of the community- which embraces the concept of providing a ‘one stop shop’ in terms of education, health, child care and social services for the community (Smith 2006). Schools can provide a range of services and activities which often beyond its main purposes, it can helps the needs of children, their families and the wider community.

The designers must always include the concept of sustainable design perspective as far more than the physical building, especially designing facilities like school. The location where schools are constructed for example can give impacts on the surrounding community in a number of ways: how it affects pedestrian and automobile traffic, the quantity and quality of open space in the neighbourhood, its location within the community, and making sure that school can be used as a facility to revitalize a community cohesion (Lock 2008). Once the school site is determined, such aspects as the exterior design of the school, amenities that it may provide and environmental design features can be a source of pride to the community as well. This is therefore, co-location of facilities and services is widely viewed as an important component of a school, in order to be successful, it needs to be more than a cluster of services and buildings. The essence of a school as community hub is the concentration of activities that occurs and how the mix of those activities, is accessible to, and serves the needs of, a diverse range of community members.

Grounded theory was developed to provide an alternative to the dominant research norm of the day within Sociology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, pp. 1-18). This norm involved the verification of existing, ungrounded formal theories derived by logico-deductive reasoning, or speculation (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, pp. 2-6; 1971, pp. 176-182; Layder, 1982, p. 105). The main purpose of grounded theory then, “was to bridge the gap between the theoretically ‘uninformed’ empirical research and empirically ‘uninformed’ theory…[as] part of a reaction against extreme empiricism, or ‘Grand theory’… ” (Goulding, 1998, p.51). Glaser and Strauss (1967, pp. 32-35) encouraged the development of multiple theories in substantive and formal areas of enquiry to be built up into more inclusive formal theories. This was in direct contrast to the “monopolistic implications of logico-deductive theories, whose formulators claim there is only one theory for an area…” (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, p.35).

Methodology

The aim of this paper is to provide an understanding of the concept in making schools roles more significant on promoting community cohesion through people perception that live or work in the immediate neighborhood. Apparently, a research for this paper will be in exploratory in nature and that considerable data will be generated before concepts, propositions or hypotheses can be developed. A qualitative research methodology that can explore uncertainties and develop data and concepts will be required, and the methodology selected for this research is Grounded Theory as described by Glaser & Strauss (1967) and supplemented by Glaser (1998). Data will be collected utilizing multiple methods including interviews, observations, surveys, document studies, field research of facilities and focus groups. The data collected will initially be open-coded, and then codes will be compared and grouped into categories. Categories will be compared and grouped into larger categories, eventually forming core categories. Literature from multiple disciplines will be consulted to clarify concepts and questions that may be raised, leading to further research. The research will begin with a general problem of complexity in personal futures research, without real research questions, and with a broad substantive area to be explored for foreknows. There is no hypothesis, only questions, all of a qualitative nature. Exploratory research of this broad nature appears well suited to grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss 1967) as a methodology that would explore a substantive area to learn about people’s interests and concerns. As each of the core categories emerge from the data, questions will arise as to how the category relates to the study of personal futures, which will lead to further research. It is helpful to note that the categories emerge from the data during the research, not from the literature. The early focus of the research will be on people who involved with the schools high administrative position, reflecting the initial interest in how school being designed for sustainable purposes (Wheeler 2009). As the core categories emerge and the significance of each becomes apparent, the research will be allowed to expand to factors contributing school roles as community hub. As described in Glaser & Strauss (1967) and in Glaser (1987), the development of the core categories and related concepts leads to literature research to find what other researchers or theorists have found in similar areas. It is expected that the literature will suggest new questions and different areas to explore, creating a circular approach to the research, approximated in the following diagram.

Process data into categories

Generate concepts

Literature research

Collect data

(Interviews,

surveys, etc)

Grounded

Theory

Process

Figure 1.0 Grounded theory research is a circular and iterative process.

Grounded theory relies on repetition, asking the same questions or variations repeatedly, finding similar data in multiple situations and constantly comparing the results. This process will lead to core categories and eventually to concepts and conclusions.

1.6.1 Research Methods

The research for this thesis will be exploratory in nature, and will be constantly seeking data about life that would suggest foreknowns. Six methods will be employed for collecting data, all consistent with grounded theory methodology.

Brief

Description

Reason method was selected

Interviews

Individual interviews, conversations and case studies

This method starts with the individual, encouraging each person to discuss their interests or concerns about a variety of topics.

Observation

and

Participant

Observation

Observes individuals and groups in their own environments,

usually as a participant

This method studies both individual and group interaction and behavior in everyday settings. An effective method for generating raw data.

Surveys

Mail surveys to randomly selected individuals from a known population

This method gathers data from a large number of people who answer specific questions that arise from other research methods.

Document

study

Study a variety of documents

including legal forms, regulations, contracts, brochures and other documents

This method obtains both general and specific data from diverse types of documents that impact individual’s lives, whether through regulation, legal protection, contracts, insurance services and advertising.

Field

research

Primarily related to visits to school community facilities

Field research will investigate the many types of medical and care facilities utilized by people of all ages.

Focus

groups

Discuss concepts raised in the

research to obtain reactions and

opinions of different groups

This method keeps a researcher in touch with reality by involving varied groups of people in discussions about concepts raised in the course of the research

Case studies

This paper has been looking at some of the studies that related to the role of school in a community. The intention is to indicate at the reasons why it is important to look the role of school beyond its main context in the community. First case study comes from New Zealand which showed the impacts of a school closure on neighbourhood social cohesion (Witten, McCreanor et al. 2001). The findings showed that the impact of school closure for low income families and more generally reflects on the place of schools in contributing social cohesion and the broadly defined health of a community. In another research, Hennessy (2006) suggest in his paper on the purpose of renewing communities assets like schools and its management, concluded that it was ultimately important to enable communities to achieve the outcomes they belief are important to them and potentially their children (Hennessy and Platt 2006). In cities such as Burnley, public facilities including schools, housing and transport have needed major investment for some time. Following inter-ethnic tensions and street disturbances in Burnley in 2001, a government investigation identified weaknesses in local leadership and a lack of strategic vision for the district. Since then, social cohesion has become a priority with far-sighted policies to encourage cultural interaction and progressive developments in education, housing, employment, community safety and sport for young people. There is also a considerable challenge surrounding Burnley’s position and function in the wider city-region. A case study from Calvert County, Maryland, United States of America, the Board of County Commissioners decided it was time to build a new school to keep up with a growing population. The populace in the county grew from 77,000 to well over 90,000 in a few short years. The school was built in the boundaries of the Prince Frederick Town Center. This was the first new school built in this area since 1979. The school had all the amenities of a state of the art institution. Everything was brand new including the books and supplies. The total cost was over seven million dollars for this beautiful facility. Conventional thinking would be that this would be a neighborhoods dream. Unfortunately, the finding showed that was not the case. Community especially parents from neighborhoods located in nearby town like Huntingtown and Prince Frederick has immediately unsatisfied with the Test Scores Board of Education and a Secret Meetings Conflicts among the communities has been organized to look for better solution. This has showed that on how important school for the communities which permitted them to engage and choose what they are really want for their neighborhood.

Conclusion

As a conclusion, the role of school as its main purpose to bring learning and education quality as highest as possible has no points to be argued about. However, looking beyond the impact of the role of school on wider communities towards community cohesion issues is something that needs to be seriously being emphasized. The relationship between schools and their pupils with parents and wider communities has shown a lot of improvement compare to the past years before as many of case studies have shown the bond between them has become stronger from time after time. Even so, this relationship must also concerned in future on contributions to promote ways to deal with other social issues from surrounding area, which are getting more highlights these days. This study has strongly recommended to further thinking on critical perceptions of local community by seeing school as more than as its suppose to be and its relationship towards community cohesion. There are some ambiguity and differences in the way social and community cohesion are interpreted and acted upon. Although these terms are useful for involving diverse stakeholders in consensus building, there is a danger of glossing over dilemmas, differences and divisions. For instance, the government’s community cohesion agenda, which is often couched in racial terms, risks neglecting problems of poverty and economic exclusion. It could usefully be extended since the objectives of social integration and participation in civil society apply equally to people on low incomes, without jobs and living in council housing.


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