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Community schools set out to bring down the barriers

THE FIRST trailblazers have been selected for 37 new community school projects in 30 education authorities.

Helen Liddell, the Education Minister, said that pound;6 million will be available to pilot the scheme in every authority except Orkney and Shetland, which did not submit bids. Sixty-four projects are planned over the next three years at a cost of pound;26 million.

The aim is for schools to provide a "full service" to pupils and families, encompassing education, social work and health.

Mrs Liddell said: "The 'big idea' is the integrated provision of services - teachers, social workers, health professionals and professionals from other services working together in a single team.

"The focus will be on the needs of each pupil and his or her family, meeting the pupil's needs in the round. This is not just an education initiative. Many of the barriers to attainment do not lie in the classroom or in the school. By breaking down these barriers, we can raise both the prospects of the children and of the communities in which they live."

The omission of housing from the list has, however, attracted adverse comment. Douglas Sinclair, chief executive of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, says this is a major weakness.

Mr Sinclair is backed by John MacBeath, head of the Quality in Education Centre at Jordanhill. Professor MacBeath's strong advice to the Scottish Office, following a visit to full-service schools in the United States, was that housing ought to be at the heart of community schools.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Office said social work would cover the housing dimension.

There is also scepticism over whether community schools will do much more than give a new Labour label to a lot of work that is already taking place. Fife, for example, says it will use the funding for homework and study groups, breakfast clubs, out-of-school programmes and family outreach. The council also plans to promote health issues, raise standards, tackle exclusion, extend adult learning and deal with drug and alcohol misuse.

Alex McKay, Fife's head of education, said a number of schools already reached beyond education and that community facilities have long helped to put schools at the heart of their communities.

The pilot projects would simply help extend these developments, Mr McKay said, although he agreed that closer links between services should stimulate new ideas and create a more flexible approach to education.

Fife's project, which will serve the Methilhill area, will also involve the development of personal learning plans for each pupil, addressing education, social and health needs.

Pilot projects cover 150 schools and centres

The 37 projects will each receive pound;200,000 this year and cover more than 150 schools and family centres. They are: Aberdeen - Smithfield primary; Tullos primary.

Aberdeenshire - Peterhead network (Peterhead Academy, Anna Ritchie special school and primaries of Buchanhaven, Burnhaven, Clerkhill, Central, Meethil, Dales Park, Boddam, Port Errol, St Ferguson and Longhaven).

Angus - Arbroath Academy link with Hayshead, St Thomas' and Warrdykes primaries.

Argyll and Bute - Dunoon, Kirn and St Muns primaries with Clyde Cottage nursery.

Clackmannan - learning centre covering Park primary, Tower nursery and Alloa family centre.

Dumfries and Galloway - Maxwelltown High link to St Ninian's and Lochside primaries.

Dundee - Baldragon Academy.

East Ayrshire - Kilmarnock Academy with primaries of Hillhead, Onthank, Mount Carmel, New Farm, Shortlees, Bellfield and Kirkstyle.

East Dunbartonshire - Kirkintilloch High, St Ninian's High, Meiklehill nursery and Hillhead and St Flannan's primaries.

East Lothian - Preston Lodge High linked to Prestonpans infants school and Prestonpans and St Gabriel's primaries; Dunbar Grammar linked to primaries at Dunbar, West Barns, East Linton, Innerwick and Stenton.

East Renfrewshire - Woodfarm High with Thornliebank primary.

Edinburgh - one proposal covering the north, west and south of the city plus Craigmillar.

Falkirk - Grangemouth High linked to Bowhouse primary and Inchyra nursery; Langlees and Bainsford primaries.

Fife - Buckhaven High linked to Methilhill primary and Woodlands nursery.

Glasgow - Lochend Secondary.

Highland - Inverness High with primaries of Bishop Eden, Central, Dalneigh, Merkinch, St Joseph's and associated nurseries; Alness Academy group with primaries of Ardross, Bridgend, Coulhill, Kiltearn, Obsdale and associated nurseries.

Inverclyde - primaries of St Gabriel's Sacred Heart, Ravenscraig, Springfield and Larkfield.

Midlothian - Newbattle High cluster involving primaries of Bryan's, Langlaw, Mayfield, Newtongrange, Borthwick, Gorebridge, Stobhill, Temple and Mayfield.

Moray - Milne's High, Fochabers, group including Mosstodloch, Milne's and Lhanbryde primaries.

North Ayrshire - Auchenharvie Academy cluster with primaries of Ardeer, Caledonia, Glencarn, Mayfield and Hayocks; Irvine Royal Academy cluster with Castlepark nursery and primaries of Annick, Castle Park, John Galt, Loudon Montgomery and Woodlands.

North Lanarkshire - Castlehill primary, Wishaw.

Perth and Kinross - Blairgowrie High with Coupar Angus, Alyth and Rattray primaries.

Renfrewshire - West Johnstone project including Cochrane Castle and St David's primaries with West Johnstone family centre.

Scottish Borders - Burnfoot community school, Hawick.

South Ayrshire - Girvan Academy cluster with primaries of Ballantrae, Barr, Colmonell, Dailly, Girvan, Pinwherry, Girvan nursery and Invergarven special school; Kincaidston primary in Ayr.

South Lanarkshire - Cathkin High; Greenburn special school and Maxwellton primary in East Kilbride.

Stirling - Castleview campus project of Raploch, St Mary's and Holy Trinity primaries.

West Dunbartonshire - Braidfield High.

West Lothian - Inveralmond Community High cluster with primaries of Harrysmuir, Letham, Riverside, Toronto and Peel.

Western Isles - Sgoil Lionacleit on Benbecula with Balivanich and Iochdar primaries.

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