Institute of Community Cohesion Report

Pupil population change and community cohesion: impact and policy implications for the education service in Bristol.

See the Covering Statement below, or read the whole report report here: ICOCO Report Feb 2009.

Covering Statement

Bristol’s diversity is one of its great strengths as a city. The council and its
partners want Bristol to be a city where all communities have a sense of
belonging, diversity is valued and where schools provide the foundation for a
successful multicultural society. We recognise that the population of the city is
continuing to change, and that we have an increasingly diverse population in
our schools and early years settings.

Bristol City Council’s Children and Young People’s Service commissioned the
Institute of Community Cohesion (Icoco) to prepare this report to identify key
challenges that will need to be considered in planning for schools, children
and young people’s services for the future, while promoting community
cohesion. This report highlights work already under way and recommends
further action both in schools and more widely across the city.

Together with our partners, we are working hard to celebrate diversity and
promote cohesion. Work is already under way on a wide range of projects,
including the following:

  • A Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) achievement action plan to accelerate the improvement in attainment of BME pupils;
  • This year 15 schools took part in the new school link project, which brings together pupils from different backgrounds in different parts of the city;
  • The Bristol Inclusion Standard is a tool developed for schools to ensure they have an inclusive approach to education – 59 schools in the city have achieved the standard to date;
  • A programme to recruit school governors from BME backgrounds has had significant impact on the number of such governors;
  • A leadership development programme is in place to support potential BME school leaders;
  • Council support for the Supplementary Schools Forum in the city and direct commissioning of individual supplementary schools;
  • Parent support programmes to strengthen the role of parents in children’s learning;
  • Work to increase the number of primary school places available in the east and centre of the city through the Primary Review;
  • Supporting new and existing residents from diverse and host communities to live alongside each other and have fair access to new housing;
  • Bristol has just secured £800,000 government grant to improve support in schools for newly arrived children with increased parental and school staff support; and
  • A new council-wide Community Cohesion Strategy Group has been established.

We recognise that there is much to be done within the authority, with schools
and other agencies, and crucially with Bristol’s communities. The report
highlights some important challenges and risks to community cohesion in the
city. It identifies a range of actions that need to be taken to ensure that the
very many strengths of diversity in our city do not undermine the cohesion
across the city and all our communities.

We welcome this report and the opportunity if offers to extend and develop
work in this very important area.

Annie Hudson
Strategic Director – Children Young People and Skills

Read the whole report report here: ICOCO Report Feb 2009.

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