Skip to main content


This guidance provides information on developing community engagement. It supplements the Community Focused Schools guidance and Annex 3: Developing family engagement in Community Focused Schools. This guidance is for:

  • maintained and independent schools
  • non-maintained nursery settings
  • specialist colleges
  • pupil referral units

However it can also provide information for third sector and community organisations.

Definitions of key terminology used in this guidance can be found in the Glossary section of the Community Focused Schools guidance. Links between Community Focused School and other Welsh Government policies can be found in ‘Annex 1: Links between Community Focused Schools and other policies’.

The Community Focused Schools model

Our model for community focused schools

The Community Focused Schools model highlights the importance of family, community and multi-agency engagement. It is a flexible model meaning that each Community Focused School will look different. Approaches should be developed in partnership with and tailored to the specific needs of its children and young people, families and communities. The most effective practice happens when provision is appropriate for the individual schools, families and communities. This is not about schools doing more. It is about having an understanding of the benefits that wider community approaches can bring for children, young people and their families. There is a huge amount of goodwill and commitment within our communities. This guidance highlights the ways that schools and communities can work together to best utilise this. Engaging with communities supports our national mission to ensure equity, high standards and aspirations for all.

Introduction to community engagement

Research evidence shows that, if schools are to play their full part in reducing the impact of poverty on attainment, strong engagement is required with the wider community (Community Focused Schools: families and communities at the heart of school life, Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales. 2020). This is because schools do not exist in isolation. They are an important part of a network of statutory, private sector and voluntary organisations that serve and support the local community. Through engagement with community organisations and by making best use of their assets, schools can:

  • maximise their role in securing educational, health and community developments
  • help to create thriving, empowered and connected communities

Within the Community Focused School model, community engagement refers to schools:

  • working with the local community
  • signposting to support or advice services
  • utilising the skills and organisations within the community to extend and enrich learning opportunities and positively influence change
  • offering, if appropriate, the use of the school facilities for youth work, adult learning, wellbeing, childcare and play, sporting, cultural and other community activities

Benefits of community engagement

Developing community engagement can:

  • strengthen the school’s family engagement work
  • strengthen the learning and teaching experiences offered by the school, bringing in resources and enriching the curriculum
  • provide resources to support learners and family members, for example health care and social care initiatives
  • support low-income families to tackle child poverty and inequality and support pathways out of poverty
  • ensure that schools support and learn from multi-lingual and global majority families and multi-ethnic communities 
  • provide joint training opportunities for staff, learners, parents and other community members
  • connect learners and families with early help and support through involvement with Flying Start, Families First, Family Information Services, health visitors, local GP services
  • enable professionals to work with others and avoid the duplication of resources used for supporting learners, families and the community
  • enable schools to make a positive contribution to community life, developing community cohesion and social capital
  • support working parents through close school and childcare partnership arrangements
  • provide greater opportunities for adult learning, allowing community members to learn new skills and develop their confidence
  • enable wider community use of the school’s assets, for example, sporting and social facilities, or the school grounds, which can enhance the health and wellbeing of the local community
  • increase the use of wider community support services, for example, citizens and careers advice
  • enable collaboration with community group leaders for joint community projects and volunteering
  • help schools encourage re-engagement with learners through links with wider community and third-party providers, (in line with the ‘Youth Engagement and Progression Framework: Overview’)

Valuing and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion

All community engagement must:

  • reflect the diversity of the children and young people, families and communities in Wales
  • respond to cultural values and needs
  • ensure equality of opportunity
  • be fully inclusive

Wales has identified a vision for an anti-racist nation where everyone is valued for who they are and the contribution they make. This is set out in the ‘Anti-racist Wales Action Plan’. Information and support for diversity and anti-racist professional learning (DARPL) is available to all education professionals across Wales. More information can be accessed on the DARPL website.

Public Sector Equality Duty

The general duty of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) sets out what schools need to consider when making decisions and developing policies that affect learners with different protected characteristics. Schools are required to have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
  • foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

Further information on the PSED is available in the Public Sector Equality Duty report.

A whole-school approach for community engagement

Community engagement requires a whole-school approach that is:

  • strategic
  • shared by all stakeholders
  • co-constructed with families and communities, reflecting their cultural values and needs

Key considerations for a whole-school Approach may involve:

  • Leadership
  • Pupil voice
  • Governors
  • Designated staff
  • School-to-school collaboration


The most effective Community Focused Schools have leaders that create a shared vision and prioritise engagement with families, communities and wider services. The Professional Standards for all school practitioners can:

  • help practitioners develop excellent practice
  • support their professional growth

More information on leadership for a Community Focused School can be found in The Family and Community Engagement Toolkit ‘Theme 1: Leadership for a self-improving system Resources 1–7’.

Pupil voice

Children and young people are the heart of a Community Focused School approach. All children deserve the best start in life and everything we do should reflect this. Their rights, as detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), should be:

  • recognised
  • respected
  • promoted

With this in mind, children and young people should:

  • have their voices heard when decisions are being made that affect their lives
  • be involved in decision-making processes
  • be part of the process for developing community engagement strategies so that they can share their views on their community from their diverse perspectives

More information on how to capture children’s voices can be found on the Children in Wales website and also on Estyn’s website.

Governing bodies and community governors

The appointment of governing bodies and community governors must:

  • consider the need to value and promote diversity and equity
  • ensure inclusive practices which enable everyone to take part and all voices to be heard to deepen understanding and build trusting relationships and engagement with the community

Role of governing bodies

Governing bodies are accountable for the strategic direction of the school and the quality of education provided. As such, they have a key role in supporting community engagement.

Governing bodies appoint community governors to represent the wider community interests of the school.

Role of community governors

Community governors can help to improve community engagement as they:

  • know the community
  • often have links to many active community groups and assets
  • can support the development of strategic partnerships

Further governor information on Community Focused Schools can be accessed in ‘School Governors’ guide to the law’.

Designated staff

Role of family engagement officers

Family engagement officers (FEOs) may also be responsible for developing greater community engagement as they often already know families and the local community well and can build upon the natural links already in place. ‘Annex 3: Developing family engagement in Community Focused Schools guidance’ provides more details on this role.

Role of Community Focused School managers

Each Local Authority in Wales receives funding for a Community Focused School manager (CFSM) post. They can develop this role in a way that supports their wider strategic vision for Community Focused Schools. These posts may be located in a school, cluster of schools or centrally.

Suggested tasks and responsibilities for Community Focused School managers

The key tasks of the role may include:

  • working with the senior leadership team to address engagement issues with the community, families and learners
  • planning for and leading the implementation of high-quality programmes and services in line with the Community Focused School model
  • ensuring family, community and multi-agency work aligns to the school vision and curriculum and as a result to the learning and teaching within the school
  • co-ordinating family and community mapping exercises and resource assessment audits which are regularly reviewed and updated
  • developing a family and community engagement plan that aligns with other wider school development priorities involving key stakeholders and identifying ways in which partnership working could benefit the school, learners and the community
  • developing or integrating with a partnership structure to develop joint strategies with other agencies such as healthcare, social services, education welfare officers (EWOs), engagement and progression co-ordinators, youth homelessness co-ordinators, police, third sector, sport and leisure, libraries, adult learning, early years, further education institutions, higher education institutions and the voluntary sector
  • supporting the evaluation of Community Focused Schools plans by co-ordinating the collection of data and generating reports for other stakeholders
  • identifying potential grant-funding streams and securing grants to support the ongoing development of Community Focused Schools
  • supporting the development of professional learning for staff within the school and for other stakeholders to share vision and good practice
  • planning appropriate support for children from low-income households making links to other services to ensure that planned support complements and is aligned with other support children may be receiving
  • developing strategies for dealing with attendance issues, low attainment and wellbeing issues for all learners, but particularly learners from low-income households, and monitoring their impact
  • working closely with family engagement officers (if available)
  • planning for the development of greater community use of the school facilities where appropriate, which could include adult learning, cultural or sports and leisure opportunities
  • developing opportunities for enriching the school day through breakfast and after-school clubs

School-to-school collaboration

Schools that are geographically close often share the same wider community, community organisations and support services. Families will often have children and young people attending 2 schools within an area, in a primary and secondary setting for example. Therefore these schools may have shared priorities and relevant information to share and may benefit from developing a place-based or cluster-based approach to their community engagement. This would ensure:

  • a more effective use of funds and grants
  • services for families are streamlined rather than duplicated
  • a greater sense of collective agency

The CFSM can provide support to develop these collaborations across schools.

Planning for developing community engagement

Planning for family and community engagement should not be seen as separate to other school development priorities. It should be seen as a part of the improvement and evaluation cycle. Further information can be found in ‘School improvement guidance: framework for evaluation, improvement and accountability'.

Reducing the impact of poverty on educational attainment and other national improvement priorities must be given due regard by schools when setting their improvement priories. Furthermore, the school development plan must contain details of how the governing body will work with the wider school community, for example:

  • parents of learners at the school
  • local residents
  • other schools
  • agencies
  • businesses

The school development plan should also include details of how resources, grants and funding can help support this work. The Pupil Development Grant (PDG) is key to ensuring high standards and aspirations for all. It provides additional funding for schools and settings to ensure children from low income households can achieve their full potential. Guidance on how to use the PDG to reduce the impact of poverty on educational attainment by developing Community Focused School strategies can be accessed in the ‘Pupil Development Grant: overview’.

Developing as a Community Focused School and developing community engagement should not be seen as a short-term strategy. Including these approaches in the long-term growth of the school and undertaking an on-going improvement and evaluation process will ensure that community engagement strategies are sustained and embedded.

Planning for community engagement will include the following:

Establishing a vision

This vision should be equitable and inclusive, involving children and young people, families and community members.

Developing relationships with parents and families

Developing wider relationships with the community starts with schools having an understanding of their children and young people and their families.

Guidance on developing family engagement in community focused schools can be accessed in 'Annex 3: Developing family engagement in Community Focused Schools guidance'.

Developing wider community involvement

Schools will need to know their community in order to understand the partnerships which will best support the development of the children and young people and families. Schools will need to communicate effectively with partners to understand their structures and processes in order to support:

  • collaboration
  • information sharing
  • joint decision making

Including community engagement aims in the school development plan

Schools should establish their priorities with stakeholders and ensure these are planned for within the school development plan. All strategies used should have an impact on improving children’s learning, development and wellbeing.

Monitoring and evaluating the impact of the engagement

Appropriate and robust evaluation should be undertaken.

All engagement with communities should be:

  • person-centred, where community members are listened to and valued
  • strengths-based, where the strengths and skills within communities are acknowledged and built upon
  • trauma-informed, where we acknowledge the widespread impact of trauma and understand and promote the potential paths for healing
  • done ‘with’ and not ‘to’ the community

Further guidance on developing community engagement can be found in The Family and Community Engagement Toolkit ‘Theme 5: Developing community partnerships and multi-agency working Resources 1–2’.

Further information on trauma-informed approaches can be found in ‘Trauma-Informed Wales: A Societal Approach to Understanding, Preventing and Supporting the Impacts of Trauma and Adversity’ on the ACE Hub Wales website.

Community partnerships, community learning, community action

Community partnerships

Developing community partnerships can be mutually beneficial for schools and for communities. All communities have resources and services within them which can:

  • support the practice of the school
  • support the development of children and young people
  • enhance and inform the curriculum

Likewise, schools have human, physical and material resources which, if made available, could support the community. The right fit between schools and other partners will vary depending on the nature of the community. School leaders should be clear about how the role of the school is nested within wider initiatives at a local level and develop the partnerships most relevant for them (Increasing the use of school facilities, Policy Institute for Wales, (2016)).

Getting to know your community

All schools should have an understanding of the services and organisations which are involved in their community so that they can best utilise and share their assets. This can be achieved by:

  • spending time in the community
  • talking to community members
  • exploring the opportunities that exist

In addition, undertaking formal community mapping can help to gather, interpret, and share information so that the strengths of what the community can offer are identified. A community profile may include information on:

  • population (this could include profiling specific groups within the community)
  • socio-economic needs
  • health
  • housing
  • education
  • religion
  • policing
  • community councils
  • transport links
  • wider community facilities
  • youth work provision
  • childcare provision
  • playwork provision (staffed play schemes)
  • local family and parenting early help and support services
  • local authority tackling poverty leads
  • local authority food partnerships

The Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation provides deprivation statistics for areas of Wales. This will help schools to understand the socio-economic context of their community.

The following organisations offer key partnership opportunities for community engagement. This is not an exhaustive list and schools will want to consider partnerships within their own community.

Youth services

Youth workers have well-established community links and have detailed information about the services available in the community.

It is important that Community Focused Schools:

  • are aligned to and work with local youth work services
  • signpost young people to local youth work services
  • identify how youth workers could be utilised in the school

Local authorities can provide information on the youth services in their area.

The Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services is the independent representative body for the voluntary youth work sector in Wales. They promote youth work and support partnership working.

Third Sector Wales

The ‘Third Sector’ is an inclusive and overarching description of a very diverse range of organisations that share a set of values and characteristics. A broad range of organisations make up the fabric of the Third Sector including:

  • community associations
  • self-help groups
  • voluntary organisations
  • charities
  • faith and belief-based organisations
  • social enterprises
  • community businesses
  • housing associations
  • development trusts
  • co-operatives
  • mutual organisations

Third sector organisations have a significant positive impact on communities in Wales and could provide excellent partnership opportunities for schools. Key partnership groups within communities are as follows.

Third Sector Support Wales

Third Sector Support Wales is a network of support organisations for the whole of the third sector in Wales. It consists of the 19 local and regional support bodies across Wales, the County Voluntary Councils (CVCs) and the national support body, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

More information can be found on the Third Sector Support Wales website.

Religion and belief groups

Communities in Wales are places of great diversity. Religion and belief groups are an important element of this diversity. Religion and belief groups contribute significantly to public life, and relationships between them and other community groups are an important part of community cohesion.

Every local authority has a standing advisory council (SAC) on religion, values and ethics (RVE), and until 2026, a standing advisory council on religious education (SACRE). These will have representatives from local religion and belief groups. These can be useful points of contact for schools to identify the prominent religious and non-religious groups within the community and to connect with them.

Wales Association of Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education

The purpose of the Wales Association of Standing Advisory Councils (WASACRE) is to support the sharing of good practice and represent the aims, work, and views of its member SACs and SACREs. This is achieved by:

  • member SACs and SACREs sending representatives to the termly meetings of WASACRE
  • organising relevant national initiatives and projects in the areas of RVE and collective worship
  • speaking on behalf of all SACs and SACREs in Wales through engaging with relevant bodies and agencies, including the Welsh Government
  • collating relevant key SAC and SACRE documents
  • maintaining working relationships with equivalent bodies in England

More information can be found on the WASACRE website.

Arts Council of Wales

The Arts Council of Wales can support schools to develop their arts and creativity offer. They can provide opportunities for teachers and learners to explore creativity across all areas of learning and experience, drawing on the skills and knowledge of creative professionals.

More information can be found on the Arts Council for Wales website.

Housing associations

Many housing associations are developing close links with schools and settings within their community and supporting a range of projects which positively impact children and their families.

Community Housing Cymru (CHC) is the umbrella organisation for Housing Associations in Wales and can provide further details of housing associations which operate in your area.

The following case studies give examples of the ways housing associations have worked with their schools and communities:

Enabling school facilities for community use

Schools have a range of facilities, including buildings, staff expertise and practical resources that could be utilised by the wider community.

Schools are encouraged to:

  • when appropriate, open up their buildings for wider community use
  • develop partnerships with community groups so that resources and expertise can be shared and utilised

When schools achieve this, the long-term benefits gained are wide-ranging, including:

  • a positive impact on learners in the school, for example, access to youth club facilities onsite, can reduce community crime rates and bullying
  • increased community pride
  • better relationships between children and young people, families and local community residents
  • providing sporting and social activities as well as safe play spaces for children and young people from low-income families

The decision to facilitate wider community use normally sits with the governing body and the headteacher. A clear vision communicated by the senior leaders and governors of the school is required. Many governors are community members and can help facilitate the process. Schools of a religious character would also need to consult diocesan authorities.

In order to facilitate the best use of school resources for wider community use, the following areas should be considered.

Staff capacity

We appreciate the multiple demands that are placed upon school staff. Research shows that establishing dedicated roles within a school structure which focus upon community engagement are effective. The roles of the FEO and the Community Focused School manager can be used to support developing the partnership working required to support the use of the school as a community asset. There are also practical issues related to staff capacity in securing and cleaning the premises and ongoing maintenance costs associated with out-of-school hours. Grants can often be accessed to support these costs, for example, Sport Wales community grants.

Dispersed communities

Some schools attract learners from a wide geographical area. These include:

  • special schools
  • schools of a religious character
  • Welsh-medium schools based in predominantly English-speaking areas
  • schools in rural areas

Having learners from a wide geographical area is not necessarily a barrier. However it does mean that ‘community’ has a slightly different meaning and is not just about locality.

Local context

Addressing local need is an important consideration when opening school facilities for community use and different localities will face different issues. Community participation and consultation are important factors in ensuring this is done in a useful way. All community needs must be considered.

Suitability of facilities

Some schools may not currently have appropriate facilities to support community use. Capital funding has been allocated to support schools make adjustments to their premises to facilitate community use.

Sport Wales

When schools open their facilities there is a clear increase in engagement with sport and physical activity. An accessible and collaborative sporting offer at a school setting provides a sustainable, long-term opportunity for communities to engage in sporting opportunities, whilst improving health and wellbeing.

Sport Wales, the national organisation responsible for developing and promoting sport and physical activity in Wales, fund a range of community and grassroot projects and can help schools to connect with various programmes and projects.

More information on creating school and community links can be found on the Sport Wales website.

Sport Wales has produced the following resources and information which may be of particular interest to schools.

Active Education Beyond the School Day Report

The Active Education Beyond the School Day Report:

  • identifies the benefits of working in collaboration with a range of sporting partners
  • highlights good practice, enablers, and challenges which schools face when opening their facilities to local communities
  • outlines the benefits to schools when they open their facilities beyond the school day

It includes helpful case studies from schools who have worked with Sport Wales to provide sports and physical activity on the school site after the school day.

Active Young People Officers

Sport Wales collaborates with local authorities to collect data on sports participation in schools through the School Sport Survey and invests in them to deliver programmes of activity that supports schools in linking with the local community. Local authority Active Young People Officers can help schools identify the funding, programmes and support available to provide extra-curricular activities and clubs.

Young Ambassadors

Young Ambassadors, sees young people creating and delivering opportunities for their peers and adults to be physically active through sport. The programme develops a range of leadership and delivery skills in young people enabling them to utilise pupil voice to create and deliver the opportunities through peer-to-peer delivery. The Young Ambassador programme in Wales is run in partnership between Sport Wales, Youth Sport Trust and the sport development team in each local authority.

More information is available from your local sports development team.


Citbag is an online learning hub to help schools give young people the skills, confidence, and sporting experiences for a lifelong enjoyment of sport. It contains resources for teachers, coaches, volunteers, parents and learners which have been developed by education and sporting specialists. The resources are designed to support the delivery of the Curriculum for Wales.


Most Sport Wales funding streams are aimed at not-for-profit community sports clubs and voluntary organisations. Any such clubs or organisations based at schools can apply for both the Be Active Wales Fund and/or A Place for Sport Crowdfunder, assuming the proposed benefits are community-focused and for non-curricular (or extra-curricular) purposes.

However, Sport Wales does offer funding options for school-operated or school-based sports facilities, all of which with a focus on community benefits. Submissions should be made through a national partner, such as a local authority or national governing body. The funding options are as follows.

  • Sport Wales Capital Fund – capital investments based on the Sport Wales business plan priorities
  • Pitch Collaboration – a national governing body (rugby, football and hockey) and Sport Wales-led group looking at artificial pitch provision (3G and ATP) across Wales
  • Court Collaboration – a national governing body (basketball, tennis and netball) and Sport Wales-led group looking at outdoor court provision across Wales

For further information on all 3 funding options, please email

Children’s right to play and Play Wales

Children’s right to play

The importance of play is recognised and protected in the UNCRC. Article 31 of the convention states that:

  • children have the right to play
  • children have the right to join in other recreational activities
  • parties should recognise these rights

Some communities may lack suitable places for play. School grounds often represent the largest single outdoor asset in many communities. Opening school grounds for play has a significant role in addressing the urgent need to ensure that more children can access outdoor play.

In order to create an environment where children have excellent opportunities to play and enjoy their free time there is a legal requirement for every local authority in Wales to undertake a Play Sufficiency Assessment. As part of this assessment local authorities must:

  • assess whether their areas offer enough opportunities for play
  • ensure that their areas secure enough opportunities for play
  • assess to what extent schools provide opportunities to play during out-of-school periods
Play Wales

Play Wales the national charity in Wales which supports children's play has developed a bank or resources which can support schools to open their school grounds.

Out-of-school clubs and childcare

Out-of-school childcare clubs meet the needs of their local community by:

  • enabling parents in Wales to train, work and progress careers, improving circumstances, tackling poverty and inequalities and supporting the best outcomes for children
  • providing local jobs and volunteering opportunities
  • supporting the development of new skills within the community to extend and enrich play and learning opportunities
  • providing play, engaging with education and supporting health and wellbeing
  • fostering sustained engagement with children and families

School buildings provide an excellent venue for out-of-school childcare clubs. Hosting this provision on site ensures continuity of care and extended and enriched play and learning opportunities for children. Out-of-school childcare clubs also can provide development and progression opportunities for school-based staff.


The CWLWM childcare consortium can help schools in looking how to develop close school and childcare partnership arrangements to support working parents.

Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs

Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs is part of the CWLWM childcare consortium. It is the umbrella body and voice of out-of-school childcare clubs across Wales. They can provide support for schools to establish out-of-school childcare on site or close by.

School buildings may also provide suitable venues for other forms of childcare such as cylch meithrin nursery groups and playgroup provision. Further advice and support can be provided from the CWLWM childcare consortium, Mudiad Meithrin and Early Years Wales.

Community learning

The opportunity to become a learner for life so that everyone in Wales learns, and continues to learn, developing their knowledge, skills and experiences is part of our national mission. Schools can support access to learning opportunities for all members of the community including young people and adults through partnerships with community learning providers and community support organisations. This can support pathways out of poverty for low-income families. These may include:

  • family learning programmes
  • the statutory and voluntary youth sectors
  • adult community learning
  • third sector groups

Family learning

Family learning refers to any learning activity that according to the Learning and Work Institute:

  • involves both children and adult family members
  • aims to provide learning outcomes for both children and adult family members
  • contributes to a culture of learning in the family

Family learning can:

  • help to develop positive attitudes to learning
  • improve confidence, employability, health and wellbeing
  • support children’s development and attainment

Family learning programmes can vary in structure and content. However all programmes aim to improve the basic skills of adults and to increase their engagement with their children’s learning. Schools can explore opportunities for family learning by contacting their adult learning partnership in their local authority.

The Learning and Work Institute are an independent organisation dedicated to lifelong learning. Additional information can be found on the Learning and Work Institute website.

Estyn have also published effective practice case studies on family learning:

Further guidance and a framework for family learning is being developed. We will provide the link to this once it has been published.

Adult community learning

Adult community learning provides flexible learning opportunities for adults and families. It is delivered in venues in the community to meet local needs. There is an adult learning partnership in every local authority area and a lead for adult community learning in each local authority and further education institution. They can offer help and advice to schools about adult and family learning opportunities.

Adult Learning Wales provides adult community learning at locations across Wales and through online learning. More information can be found on the Adult Learning Wales website.

Intergenerational learning

Intergenerational learning brings people of different ages together. Projects offer activities which are beneficial and enjoyable to all involved. It is an important part of lifelong learning, where generations work together to gain skills, values, and knowledge. Participants learn more about different age groups and feel part of their community.

More information is available in intergenerational practice brings generations together.

Careers Wales

Careers Wales we can help young people:

  • plan their careers
  • prepare to get a job
  • and find and apply for the right apprenticeships, courses and training in the local area

More information can be found on the Careers Wales website.

Curriculum for Wales

Curriculum for Wales provides an opportunity for schools and clusters to develop their own programmes of learning which are better suited to the needs of the community they serve. It also has equality and diversity at its heart. These aims support the ways in which Community Focused Schools can operate.

Welsh Government is clear that successful curriculum realisation is supported by schools being at the heart of their communities. Through this community focus, better relationships can be built between schools and families, communities and employers. These relationships will support and promote educational achievement and next steps into employment, education and training.

It is only through purposeful engagement with the community that schools can shape their curriculum. Drawing upon specialist groups which already exist within the community, many of which may be voluntary, can allow schools to utilise expert knowledge and additional resources.

Case studies

These case studies show how schools have planned for effective learning and teaching of citizenship education, which focus on key areas of learning including:

  • cynefin
  • local communities
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate (Welsh Bacc) was designed in Wales for our learners. It gives broader experiences than traditional learning programmes, to suit the diverse needs of young people. It is wide-ranging and embraces the teaching of key skills that complement the subjects and courses already available for learners. Learners get real life experience of the world outside school and learn how to apply skills in practical situations, including by undertaking community projects and challenges.

Duke of Edinburgh Award

The Duke of Edinburgh award is a youth achievement award open to all young people aged 14 to 24. It supports young people to become active citizens and promotes a positive effect throughout communities. The Duke of Edinburgh charity licences thousands of community-based organisations, including schools, colleges and youth groups to run their award.

More information can be found on the Duke of Edinburgh website.

Children’s University

Children’s University is a charity that works in partnership with schools to develop a love of learning in children. They encourage and celebrate participation in extra-curricular activities in and outside of school.

More information can be found on the Children’s University website.

Community action

We all want to live in thriving, empowered and connected communities and forming community action groups that bring people together can support this. The community organising framework and the asset-based community development approach give examples of ways that individuals can come together to have a positive impact on their community. This information may be useful when planning community engagement.

The Community Organising Framework

The Community Organising Framework supports the work of community organising – bringing people together to take positive action. The framework identifies a list of processes that:

  • supports this work
  • helps communities to listen and connect to each other in order to take action and make change

More information can be accessed on The Community Organisers website.

Asset-based community development

Asset-based community development (ABCD) focuses on community strengths and assets rather than deficits and problems.

Schools can become active participants in this process. By doing this, they can support the integration of diverse groups of people which leads to a strong feeling of community cohesion and understanding.

More information on asset-based community development can be found on the Create Your Space website and the Nurture Development website.

Children and young people: Participation and action

All children and young people have a right to raise their voice about the issues that matter to them and take action on these issues. Often, when children and young people have the opportunity to raise awareness about a specific issue, this can lead to change in a local community. The Children’s Commissioner has produced a range of useful resources that support children and young people to make a difference in:

  • secondary schools
  • further education settings
  • youth participation groups
  • community youth groups

More information can be found on the Children's Commissioner's website.