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The great escape

Michael White, Aberdeenshire's director of education and a leading proponent of new community schools said they had the potential to do "wondrous things". Generation after generation of young people from some housing schemes stood little chance of escaping, partly because of the approach to services and families.

Mr White envisaged a future structure in which school, town and hinterland could be the natural unit of local government and public service delivery.

Teachers should be freed to concentrate on teaching and the curriculum.

"Where we have to learn lessons from the past is the number of teachers willing to take early retirement because they have been asked to do too many things - mother confessor, family counsellor, spiritual adviser," he stated.

But Mr White believed changing the nature of schools would force other changes. "We cannot deliver the new community school agenda if we say we are only open 190 days a year and we close at four. Best value will lead us to examine the school day and school year," he forecast.

News H5 TESJapril 23J 1999 Alastair Struthers: "New community schools should not always be identified with social deprivation. There is a risk of stigmatising them"

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