School–community links: supporting learning in the middle years
This paper reports on research into how schools, parents and local communities work together to support students' learning during the transition from primary to secondary schools in what is referred to as the middle years of schooling. The research was conducted in four Australian schools within one urban school district. These schools were located in low-income communities and had high numbers of bilingual students. We mapped existing school-community links that support student learning by identifying key participants and describing how they perceive these links - particularly in relation to improving students' engagement in learning. Our approach was qualitative in nature, utilizing interviews and focus groups. We found that students, families and teachers commonly expressed the view that learning is limited to schooling; that contacts between schools and communities about learning are difficult to negotiate and are heavily mediated by school principals; and we describe a lack of consensus about the nature of communities and the potential of school community links to contribute to enhancing student learning outcomes.
Research Papers in Education