Melvyn Roffe

How schools can empower local communities

Are schools just another public service, powerless to the sway of government, or are they the key to empowering local communities? Melvyn Roffe searches for the answer in a small town in Denmark – and learns an important lesson from 16th-century Scottish history

Bringing home the Danish

From the very earliest days of organised education in Scotland, schools have been rooted in their communities. In 1560, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland called for a school to be established in each parish so that every child could learn to read and access the scriptures. While the effectiveness of these parish schools has been debated by historians, there is no doubt that they became cornerstones of the communities that they served and, following Parliament’s Education Act of 1633, could be considered to be the first institutions of the modern Scottish state.

My first ...

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