Community bread comes with jam on it

The Lord's Prayer has been given a new meaning at Burnfoot Community School in Hawick, writes David Henderson. Daily bread and jam is given free by Safeway.

The supermarket chain is one of the agencies contributing to the school's breakfast club, along with local church volunteers and the community health worker. The club has around 50 regulars from 8am onwards, who pay 20p for a pre-school tuck-in. The project contributes to healthy eating initiatives and puts pupils in the right frame of mind for learning.

Donald Dewar, the Scottish Secretary, praised the initiative on Tuesday when he launched the scheme of new community schools.

Derek Reid, Burnfoot's headteacher, says the range of activities between 8am and 9pm has contributed to vastly improved performance in national tests over the past year. The list includes supported study classes for senior pupils, line dancing for adults, cr ches, playgroups, parent computer classes and youth clubs.

With more cash from the Government to manage the activities and start others, Mr Reid believes standards will rise well beyond this year's spectacular progress.

The school will use the extra Pounds 49,000 this financial year to appoint an additional assistant head with a community remit. It hopes to improve the cr che and its staffing, while Borders College is keen to set up an aromatherapy group. A lunch club for senior citizens will extend community links. A multi-skills night, involving anything from a cybercafe to life skills training, will tempt 14 to 17-year-olds.

Mr Reid's aim is to place the school at the heart of the disadvantaged Burnfoot community, one and a half miles from the town centre.

Elsewhere, Braidfield High, Clydebank, aims to establish a one-stop community resource in the school, including psychological services, a cr che, a training suite and a youth information project. Workshops will boost parent confidence in helping with children's work. A social worker and youth worker will be based in the school.

At Baldragon Academy, Dundee, a health and youth information point called the Edge is being set up. Pupils said they wanted information on drugs, alcohol, bullying, smoking and exam stress.

In Glasgow, the city's director of education said the community schools project dovetailed with the city's recent plans for regeneration areas and ending demarcations between services. Nine schools are being lined up to join the initiative.

"Other services will be much more linked to the educational objectives of the school. They will be more obligated to help us deliver. The key difference is the co-ordination under one management and under one set of objectives, " Ken Corsar said.

Michael White, director of education in Aberdeenshire, said community schools were a "totally different concept" to previous efforts in multi-agency planning.

"It is introducing non-teachers to the school, like doctors, nurses and dentists and careers advisers. The real crunch is how we manage a team of different professionals from different backgrounds," Mr White said.

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