Risk and lack of awareness of the benefits involved in taking meaningful steps towards cooperation between schools and communities and the groups within them have figured repeatedly when we have been thinking about barriers to progress. As Tim Brighouse has highlighted, it is easy to talk about the need to take courses of action that involve some degree of risk, but what is often neglected are the skills and tools that people – involved in schools and in communities – need to do so successfully.
We believe that in managing risk, the object cannot be to minimise it, but should be to ensure that it is justified by the potential benefits of taking it. That is: risk-benefit analysis.
Professionals involved in schools and the people who organise community action with educational outcomes need a better understanding of risk and how to manage it, starting with the idea of risk-benefit analysis. There are technical skills and approaches that can help in understanding how to manage risk more effectively in practice.
Technical learning is important, but we do not believe will be an adequate substitute for what we have referred to in this draft charter as ‘professional generosity’. That is: the ability, not to forget or ignore professional standards and approaches, but to use them as the basis for coproducing education that puts children and young people – with their own levels of need and ability – at the heart of the matter; and with schools, families and communities all playing to our strengths to enable it.