Community Learning and Development

I had a very productive meeting with Tom Shearer, Head of Community Services; Margaret O'Connor, Manager, Community Services and Alison Wishart , our link Education Officer with a Curriculum for Excellence.

We explored four key questions about the links between education and community learning and development (CLD):

  1. What's currently on offer in our communities for young people and who delivers?
  2. Where are the existing links between schools and CLD?
  3. What are the opportunities of improving links between CLD and schools?
  4. How do we go about recognising the cachievements of young people outwith school?

I won't go into the detail of the discussion but we came up with the following list of possible ares where links already exist, or where there is potential for development:

  1. Sport
  2. Performing arts – dance music, drama
  3. Visual Arts
  4. Creative writing
  5. ICT
  6. Outdoor education
  7. Community Projects – e.g motorcycle project
  8. Library service;
  9. Volunteering;
  10. Museum service

We also identified the following as areas which present a particular challenge:

  1. Integration between schools and CLD workers;
  2. Curricular links with CLD.

On the latter point Margaret spoke about the notion of cultural entitlements. I have to admit to ignorance on this front but after some srearch on the web came up with this link to the
Scottish Exec's reponse to the Cultural review. The main thrust of the Exec's response is to see cultural entitlements in a local context:

“The Commission was asked to explore and define the subject of cultural rights and entitlements. The Commission stated correctly that entitlements should be developed in each local authority area, in response to the wishes of local people.”

They go onto suggest:

At local level, the local authorities will have a duty to develop minimum cultural entitlements to apply in their areas. As with direct support to non-national cultural organisations and venues, the Executive believes that cultural entitlements are best, and most appropriately, delivered locally – for the benefit of communities. The cultural planning activity of local authorities, mentioned above – integrated within the framework of Community Planning – should include entitlements that address identified need in each authority area. The Executive anticipates this approach should open up a range of choices for local people, and a menu of cultural options which they have helped to develop. The principle of free access to cultural activity for young people should be every provider's goal – and should underpin the entitlements and pledges now being explored.

From my reading of this we have a clear obligation to ensure that we develop a clear strategy for identifying and fulfilling these cultural entitlements for young people. Given our recent Learning and Teaching Policy – which is framed around the notion of “learner entitlements” it would appear that we could make this area a particular focus for developing and expanding the links between schools and CLD.

We are planning to set up a Performing Arts and Education Group next session. It strikes me that we should perhaps maybe rename this group as “Cultural Entitlements and Education Group”. All this seems particularly appropriate given the belief axpressed by our Headteachers in S
eptember 2005 when they identfied “creativity” as the cornerstone of our approach towards the “Curriculum for Excellence.”

We are going to explore the possibliity of this being a key theme in a joint conference between Headteachers and the CLD team.