In the seventh of our 10 steps on developing better education for our children, we look at the role of the community in shaping our schools.

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 . . .

#7 Empower Local Communities

An incoming government [these steps were published prior to the 2010 UK general election] faces a breakdown in trust between central and local government. While Britain prides itself on being a democracy it frequently for- gets that such a fragile concept cannot flourish unless each new generation is well-nurtured in the affairs of the mind, and appropriately inducted into the responsibilities of adulthood, and the maintenance of the common good.

To make democracy a daily reality England should replace the large and increasingly moribund local authorities with a contemporary version of the School Boards as existed from 1870 to 1902.

Such Boards should be based on discreet communities where trustees are directly elected for the sole purpose of devising and administering the most appropriate education for everyone within their community, funded directly through taxes set by the Board – local taxation, with full local responsibility.

Parliament serves the country best when it creates the conditions for people to put their personal creativity into action; it does much damage, however, when it hedges its proposals with so many do’s and don’ts that it inhibits individual (and subsequently national) creativity.

10 steps towards a better education

#1 Understand Learning
#2 Reassert Intelligence
#3 Affirm the Family
#4 Strengthen Community
#5 Unpack the Curriculum
#6 Prepare the Teachers