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“From outside in and inside out” Building school communities as nodes of care and support K ey learning from facilitating a development process A partnership.

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Presentation on theme: "“From outside in and inside out” Building school communities as nodes of care and support K ey learning from facilitating a development process A partnership."— Presentation transcript:

1 “From outside in and inside out” Building school communities as nodes of care and support K ey learning from facilitating a development process A partnership between SADTU and the Children’s Institute Presentation to National Health Promoting Schools Conference 2006 Karen Collett, Norma Rudolph and Brenda Sonn

2 Overview of presentation Introduction, Background, Methodology and research design Key change agents  Community Based Facilitators  School Based Facilitators  Local intersectoral collaboration

3 New challenges for education Educators need to understand the responsibilities that they have towards learners, both as key mentors in the learning process and as adults who serve as important role models and as protectors of children. Teachers may need to change their classroom behaviour significantly in order to respect the rights of learners. They may also have to change their interactions with communities, parents, educational leaders, and educational institutions within the system as each component changes to be more sensitive to meeting each learner’s right to a quality basic education. (UNAIDS IATT 2006:26)

4 Background CI research in context of Aids pandemic and vulnerable children Potential role of schools CI round table “schools” as nodes SADTU approached CI and raised funds for joint project Context of vulnerable education systems  Caring schools  “School communities”  The ward as the unit of action and analysis  Mobilise support for and through schools Commitment of Ministers Swaziland 2005

5 Commitment of 13 SADC Ministers of Education September 2005 We commit ourselves to taking the necessary measures to strengthen our education systems, to make schools and alternative learning centres viable as both centres of learning and the primary channels through which essential services are provided for children

6 Project aims Pilot “ Schools as nodes of care and support ” – deep work From concept to action Finding best ways Build capacity Research, Development and Advocacy

7 Three big questions What do we mean by “child well being”? What is needed to ensure that children thrive and meet their full potential? How do we make sure all children grow and develop well?

8 Continuum well-being and vulnerability Survival, growth and development  Highly linked processes, occurring simultaneously and affecting each other Involves  Care practices and family resources, decision making and family empowerment  Gender roles  Community organisation and social mobilisation

9 Key interlinked frameworks and change strategies Emancipatory, participatory action research Systems Theory Communication for social change Communication for social change  Appreciative inquiry approach  Action-oriented rights-based approach Building on existing policy and programmes  Health Promoting Schools, Safe schools  Inclusive education

10 Communication for social change Communication from a rights perspective activates communities to take control of their own development Meaning making Understanding ones rights and underlying causes Conversations between rights claimants and duty bearers

11 Three shifts From message to conversation From problem to appreciation From expert solution to community solution

12 Community level planning guidelines Opportunity for success Consensus not essential Identify and link children to services Link to advocacy when referral systems weak Develop and strengthen systems and capacity to implement and sustain ● Clear responsibilities and timeframes ● Developing indicators and process for community-based monitoring and evaluation / learning and accountability ● Documentation

13 Working at different levels Schools and school communities Provincial teams  SADTU provincial  District Dept of Education officials  School based facilitators  Community based facilitators National workshops Beyond development

14 Community Based Facilitator Youth Worker The role How they were selected The gains The challenges

15 CBF Recommendations A Community Youth and Child care worker as well as Youth Care Workers be linked to a cluster of schools to support the referral, counseling and outreach work of each school-based facilitators. Baseline study and needs analysis of the role and function of youth workers in schools. Financial support to school from the DoE and/or local government for youth workers working in schools. Collaboration between different stakeholders to compare strategies, approaches and interventions for youth workers in school. Accredited programmes for youth development workers in the education sector.

16 School Based Facilitator: Internal “Change Agent” School Based Facilitator – Staff nominated SADTU representative. One of the SBF’s was a principal and not a SADTU member. Four of the SBF’s in the Western Cape were women and one was a man. In the Free State two SBF’s were selected in each school. Two women and two men.

17 Western Cape, HIV/AIDS coordinator, September 2006 “We need a person to hold care and support. This person should do counseling and just focus on the care and support role in a full time way. This person can be an educator however this person must not be doing classroom teaching. The problem with being the HIV/AIDS coordinator is that this is too difficult as I also have a full time teaching load. Sometime I have to use my periods to focus on HIV/AIDS issues, our classes do suffer. We are so stressed as we have a lot to do.”

18 Role of School Based Facilitator Activating the change process: Sharing information; planning school based interventions; co-facilitation; networking; supporting the strengthening of links between their schools and the external support services; engaging with management; taking leadership around issues of care and support. Research: Conducting interviews, gathering data (stories etc.) Sharing findings within schools and between schools; writing of a case study.

19 Gains Personal and professional development. Status and recognition in the school and school community. Helped to raise awareness of care and support issues in the school and school community. Felt empowered to speak about issues with external support providers Became actively engaged at an inter-school and community level. Contributed to strengthening the school as a node of care and support.

20 Challenges Support from leadership Link with key structures within the school Extra workload Limited capacity and resources Tension between teaching and support role Finding time for research/writing/action

21 Recommendations SBF’s or school based internal change agents be provided with greater internal and external support. A member of senior management take the role of the SBF to hold safety, care and support issues, and ensure that school development plan are monitored. SBF’s have a reduced teaching load. SBF’s link with inter-school structures to address school-community issues. School leaders need to understand their role in care and support at a whole school level and to integrate this into their institutional development plans. The allocation of responsibility in strengthening care and support is shared across the staff through a structure such as the school development team (SDT), or school support team (SST) or Wellness committee. Extra people and resources are required in schools (or between school) in working class and lower middle class areas to enable schools and staff members to deal with the increased bio-psych-social needs of learners. A Community Youth and Child care worker as well as Youth Care Workers are linked to a cluster of schools to support the referral, counseling and outreach work of each school based facilitator.

22 Local level intersectoral collaboration Steering Committee/Reference Group/Local Network of Care Reflection, collective learning; planning; forum for networked learning, building relations; sharing resources; accessing support; addressing rights based issues; linking the school and the community. Capacity building. Stakeholders: School reps; local organisations (NGO’s CBO’s); Gov. Depts.; District Support services; ward councilor. Co-leadership that rotates. Process: Action Learning/Research and appreciative enquiry. Networked learning.

23 Gains Built relations between individuals and organisations in the community and outside the community Strengthened a joint vision in the school community for the wellbeing of children and youth. Built relations between schools and between schools and other organisations. Helped to identify resources and current activities at a community level and regional level. Provided a platform for raising rights based issues and taking action. Created a forum for collective planning and action.

24 Challenges Leadership and legitimacy. Meeting times, continuity Nature of the structure - Network/Organisation Local agendas and external agendas Limited access to external support services in an ongoing way. Staff turnover in Govt. Depts. Traditional meeting agendas vs. action learning Changing political agendas. Rural areas – services limited and sporadic Ed Support service – crisis oriented not developmental Limited “political will” Communication strategy Developing systems of monitoring and accountability

25 Recommendations A multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral structure at local community level provides a forum for support providers and schools to address issues of care and support in a more integrated and immediate way. This structure needs to be legitimately constituted within a community. Proposed structure: A loosely-coupled network with co-leadership; clear vision and a communication strategy. Local Government and Social Services supports capacity building of these structures. The capacity of this network needs to be developed to function as a learning and support network, such as support for the co-leaders in action learning; networked learning; a rights based approach etc. The participants on this local level structure need to clarify their vision, roles and responsibilities on this structure with the support of external facilitation. Schools form a smaller sub structure to network and meet on school specific issues and concerns. Department of Education supports the establishment of inter-school clusters in smaller geographical areas. (not a one size fits all approach) District support services link in an ongoing way with an inter-school structure as well as at a broader “Local Network of Care” level. External Support Services support local level leadership and empowerment of these structures and don’t dominate the agendas. School SBF’s and leaders play and active part on community structures and networks.

26 For further information Norma Rudolph Children’s Institute


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