This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Report on Integrated Community Schools
Integrated Community Schools have increased support for vulnerable children, encouraged more active pupil and parental involvement, and increased the range of activities during and after school, according to a new study published today.
Education Minister Peter Peacock said the Executive would look carefully at the study to ensure that the best practice highlighted in the evaluation becomes the norm as the Integrated Community Schools approach is rolled out across Scotland, and to further assist the development of existing projects.
Today's report by London University into phase one of the pilot for Integrated Community Schools (formerly New Community Schools), which ran from April 1999 to March 2002 and involved 170 schools and 30 local authorities, found:
- Increased provision and support for vulnerable children and families helping them to remain within mainstream schools
- Perceptions of improved pupil attitudes towards school and an increasing use of ways to take account of young people's views, particularly through pupil councils
- Increased community and/or parental involvement in schools including the provision of adult learning opportunities, social and sporting events and use of innovative youth work initiatives aimed at reducing crime and drugs
- Provision of a wide range of new activities, including out-of-school care and curricular developments, including personal and social development, alternatives to exclusion, and healthy eating
- Much greater emphasis on joint working by organisations and professionals working in the fields of education, health, social work and youth work, and implementation of an increasing range of education, health and social policy initiatives, for example early intervention, local drugs projects, study support and promotions of citizenship
- Implementation of an increasing range of education, health and social work initiatives, for example early intervention, local drugs projects, study support and promotion of citizenship
In some projects there were indications of a significant rise in attainment, improved attendance, 'dramatically reduced' exclusion rates, and significant differences in outcomes for school leavers.
Overall however, there was no significant difference between national trends and phase one projects, with the study concluding that three years was insufficient to demonstrate a significant impact on attainment.
The Minister said:
"The Scottish Executive wants to ensure that children get as much as possible out of their time at school and that schools play an important part in our efforts to give every child the best possible start in life.
"I also believe that schools can play an increasingly important part in the provision of an integrated range of support for children. The development of the Integrated Community Schools approach is central to that work and we are already providing nearly £78 million to support the roll out of the concept to every school in Scotland by 2007.
"Today's report highlights a number of successes for Integrated Community Schools throughout the country - closer and better joint working among education, health and social work agencies and professionals, greater pupil and parental involvement in schools, and improved support and service provision for our most vulnerable children and young people.
"It also shows that where the scheme has been most successful, there has been a clear commitment to the concept, active support from other agencies and strong team working. Staff development and joint learning opportunities, and clear management structures and responsibilities have also been shown to be vitally important in ensuring a project's success.
"The Executive will now look carefully at the details of the evaluation and ensure that it is used to inform the development of existing and new projects throughout Scotland. Lessons learned from the evaluation will also help us ensure that as the Integrated Community Schools approach becomes the 'norm' in all our schools, we build on and spread good practice as quickly and widely as possible.
"And that Integrated Community Schools contribute towards better educational attainment, the provision of strengthened, integrated support packages for our most vulnerable children, the promotion of social inclusion and greater opportunities during school and after school for generations to come."
The pilot programme was launched by the Scottish Office in 1998 with the aim of promoting social inclusion and raising education standards.
Phase one of the pilot programme started in April 1999 and involved 37 projects (170 schools/institutions in 30 local authorities) concentrated in disadvantaged areas. Each project received funding of £200,000 a year for three years under the Excellence Fund. Further projects were funded under phases two (10 projects) and three (15 projects).
In 2002 the approach began to be rolled out to all schools. The Executive is committed to completing this roll out by 2007.
More than £37 million has been committed by the Executive to support the pilot programme over its five year lifetime (1999 - 2004). Nearly £78 million has so far been committed to rolling out the approach to all schools.
The national evaluation was commissioned in 2000 from Institute of Education, University of London. Its aims were to inform the development of the phase one pilots; to provide data and analysis on school-based outcomes, allowing national overview; to judge effectiveness of Integrated Community Schools; and to inform policy making.
Researchers surveyed all 37 pilot projects, with questionnaires for secondary, primary and nursery schools - providing indicators of activity in 1998-99 (Baseline), 1999-2000 (year one), 2000-2001 (year two) and 2001-02 (year three). It also included six case studies, and a survey focusing on vulnerable children.