Schools and community groups both make information available to local people (through websites, Facebook groups, newsletters etc) about what is going on in the neighbourhoods they serve. There are often, however, no links between these school and community information resources. In particular, schools tend to confine themselves to news and information relating directly to the school itself. They often have no links to neighbourhood groups or groups that provide services to children, young people and families.
If schools and communities made links between their information resources and came to share more information then both would have better local intelligence and parents and residents could make better informed decisions. Knowing more about each other should lead to greater understanding and, in time, more trust. Showing how we work together would help others, including Ofsted, see how schools are adding value through community partnerships.
What’s stopping us?
We think the main barriers to linking and sharing information are lack of information about how to do so safely; and concerns about: data protection; advertising by commercial bodies; and fear of being seen to endorse or unfairly promote one group as opposed to another.
What might help us?
We think the starting point here is overcoming a lack of information. Some simple things might help us to win the mutual benefits of linking and sharing:
- straightforward technical information about how to link websites and how to use a shared drive etc would help schools and communities be more confident;
- legal advice about data protection relating to personal information and defamation specifically aimed at enabling school-community information sharing;
- a set of model arrangements to enable sharing and linking of information resources between schools and community groups piloted by community groups which provide services to children, young people and families.