A school but not as we know it! Towards schools for networked communities
Source TitleAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2016
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
University of Melbourne Author/sCleveland, Benjamin
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypeConference Paper
CitationsCLEVELAND, B. (2016). A school but not as we know it! Towards schools for networked communities. Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference 2016, Australian Association for Research in Education.
Access StatusOpen Access
School facilities are some of the most underutilised public assets in Australia. Yet, opportunities to better utilise and enhance school facilities though offering a range of services to growing communities are increasingly being recognised. Across the country, state governments are endorsing the development of schools as community hubs, based on indications from overseas of better education, health and well-being outcomes for students, as well as benefits to their families and the public. How best to proceed with the development of community oriented schools in Australia however, remains an open question due to a lack of knowledge about; a) what types of services – beyond the academic – should be delivered from school sites; b) how best to utilize existing facilities and deliver new infrastructure that may be required for ‘non-traditional’ service provision; and c) what government funding should be directed to such services and facilities, and from which departments. Curtailing the development of community oriented schools are embedded state government policies and practices that tend to dislocate and dissociate the processes of procuring, designing, governing and using/managing school infrastructure. If the concept of schools as community hubs is to be realised, the policy environment through which such provision must be achieved needs to be scrutinised and updated. The provision of school facilities that can support enhanced social capital, education, health and well-being outcomes for Australian communities requires improved co-ordination between multiple levels of government, as well as non-government agencies, schools and community groups. A means of productively navigating and negotiating these multifaceted relationships is needed i.e. a coherent framework that links research, policy and practice associated with the planning and management of service delivery and associated infrastructure on school sites. This paper explores how such a framework may be developed for the purpose of helping state governments, local councils, schools and community stakeholders overcome the current 'obstacle course' that is limiting attempts to maximise school facilities for broader community benefit.
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