Will the 'full' signs stick?;Leading Article;Opinion

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
IT IS only a couple of years since word of "full service schools" was being borne across the Atlantic, and now the import is a programme for Scotland, with "new community" replacing "full service" and rich in Government investment politically and financially. There is a danger of precipitateness and, as became clear at a conference this week (page five), of inappropriate models being foisted on education authorities anxious to cash in. The senior chief inspector, an early convert to the idea, was right to warn, ironically in view of his reputation as a centralist, that innovation should come "bottom up".

Bringing community services into school is a good idea. It should not be confined to areas of deprivation although it is perhaps in these that the greatest need for one-door services is found. There was a flurry of "community high school" building 20 years ago. It fell out of favour under the Conservatives, and negotiating conditions of service proved an obstacle.

Whatever the attraction of innovation and collaboration, changing long established practices is always hard. The Association of Directors of Social Work conference heard yet again last week of the need for education and social work to pull together. Optimistically, the co-operation to make a new community school effective may have lessons higher up the administrative ladder.

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