The interaction of school and community : an analysis and comparative study of voluntary secondary schools, community/comprehensive schools and community colleges/vocational schools in Cork city and county

McGrath, Caitriona

April 2009

Thesis or dissertation

© 2009 Caitriona McGrath. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This study attempts to investigate the interaction of school and community through a comparative study of second-level schools in Cork City and County. The Education Act 1998 sets the framework for the development of education as a partnership process involving pupils, teachers, parents, patrons, trustees/owners/governors, management bodies, local community (including voluntary social and business sector) and the state. The challenge is building partnership networks beyond the school where mutual interdependence is fostered and partnerships are inclusive of all persons in the dynamics of the interaction.

The international perspective focuses on flexible learning styles and programmes which enable schools to connect more effectively with the wider diverse community of today. The study also follows the creative and innovative thinking on the developing interface between the school and changing society in Ireland. The focus here is on the school in the local community from inception to the present day.

An in-depth questionnaire was designed with the specific aim of examining if schools were interacting with their community. This was distributed to second-level schools. Follow-up interviews were conducted among five representatives of the major stakeholders in the education process. The questionnaires elicited definite wide-ranging information and the interviews provided further clarification on issues pertinent to the study.

The thesis concludes that the community/partnership dimension of education has gained much ground up to the present day although there are varying levels of interaction across the different sectors. The study also highlights the factors that either enhance or hinder the formation of meaningful strong proactive relationships and partnerships in the local community.

Centre for Educational Studies, The University of Hull
McClelland, V. Alan
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