The problem is that few of us live in villages, and when we do, they are often commuter communities, lacking the old-fashioned cohesiveness and nosiness that knit people together through the generations.
But this needn't stand in our way. In his article below, Laurie Rosenberg, the head of a small Jewish school in London, examines ways to square this particular circle.
How do you create a village school in Hackney, or Brixton, or Moss Side? In an ideal world, this is what the Children Act could help achieve. By providing a range of services on-site, including advice, classes and a place to rest for parents, schools will become more like community centres.Simon Marks is, of course, focusing on the Jewish community, which welcomes such an initiative.
For non-faith schools, the challenge is bigger - to try to help forge a vibrant community from diverse, sometimes hostile groups living side by side.