A new report suggests that a strong community spirit has been forged during the Covid pandemic and that nearly three-quarters of people would like society to be closer and more connected in the future.
The report, called Our Chance to Reconnect, was published by Together, which describes itself as “a coalition that everyone is invited to join, from community groups to some of the UK’s best known organisations. Our aim is to bring people together and bridge divides, to help build a kinder, closer and more connected society.”
One of the report’s five foundations for a more connected society is education. It talks of workplaces, schools and colleges as places “where people are most likely to meet and mix with others who are different to themselves” and of the importance of “community-minded employers and schools”.
A proposal to re-energise citizenship education includes this call:
Children’s understanding of democracy, our political institutions and what it means to be a citizen should be deepened; they should also learn about civil political debate. We should encourage greater civic participation and volunteering among people of all ages, and greater contact between people from different backgrounds.Our Chance to Reconnect, executive summary, page 10
The report cites a poll finding that 73% of people would like society to be closer and more connected in the future. One of the ten changes that the report says people want to see is “a new, country-wide moment [sic] that celebrates communities and what we have in common.”
This is to be applauded. We need stronger communities, and the way to strengthen them is by tackling community breakdown and fragmentation. We all have a role to play — including schools.
The Forum advocates the introduction of a life-based curriculum for primary school children, with ‘Community’ as one of nine equal themes through which all subject learning can be delivered. This includes:
- Teaching history, geography and citizenship through the lens of community
- Raising children’s awareness that their school is itself a living, breathing community as well as a focal point for the wider community
- Drawing on the talents, expertise and goodwill of the local community to enhance and enrich the curriculum
Visit the Together website
Visit the website of the Together coalition
Our Chance to Reconnect
Read the executive summary of the report
An Urgent Priority
Why we need a long-term strategy to tackle community breakdown
The image at the head of this article is from @togethercoalit, the Twitter feed of the Together organisation.