In the fourth of our 10 steps on developing better education for our children, we look at the role of the community in supporting the development of adolescents.

These 10 steps first appeared as a part of our briefing paper for British parliamentarians, which is why they talk about ‘parliament’. They could equally apply to many governments around the world . . .

#4 Strengthen Community
As children grow older and more independent the influence of family and teachers decreases, while the influence of the peer group and community increases.

Parliamentarians need to appreciate the evolutionary significance of adolescence and move to provide opportunities for young people to extend their learning in a hands-on manner either as formal apprentices or perfecting their skills by working alongside members of the community.

Tragically, an increasingly individualistic culture is robbing communities of that which once gave it its vitality and made their pavements, town squares and backyards the spontaneous locations for inter-generational discourse.

Members of strong communities are sustained by the work they do together, which was why the Board Schools of the late 19th century were so successful, and why similar arrangements could be as successful in the future.

It is social capital, not institutional arrangements, that binds people together in their daily lives.

10 steps towards a better education

#1 Understand Learning
#2 Reassert Intelligence
#3 Affirm the Family