Literature review on local governance, community participation, and school processes

From Eldis:

Title: School processes, local governance and community participation: understanding access
Authors: M. Dunne; K. Akyeampong; S. Humphreys
Publisher: Consortium for Research on Educational Access, Transitions and Equity , 2007

The main aim of this study is to provide an overview of the research that has explored aspects of access that surround formal state schooling. The specific focus of this review concerns research on the relations within and between schools, communities and local governance institutions and their combined influence on access within local contexts. Each of these three social sites individually could be the subject of a research review but in distinction from this, in this review the authors draw together literature that contributes to understandings of the local processes, that is, the ways in which schools, communities and school governance institutions inter-relate to produce particular access outcomes. The underlying assumption of this review is that it is these inter-connections are central to the local conditions of access and exclusion.

In order to understand what is happening in terms of access in local settings at the point of educational service provision, in this paper we have located schools in a network of relations: first with local systems of educational governance and administration and second with their communities (see Figure 2 below). So, while the key focus is upon access to schools, the authors’ assumption is that schools do not operate in isolation but that relations with the community and with local governance institutions shape what happens in schools and in the processes of educational inclusion. The document explores the literature provides information about these particular sets of inter-institutional (school – local government – community) relations and their influences on access.

The review identifies gaps in research on teacher management, school governance, decentralisation, processes of exclusion, characteristics of vulnerable communities, school processes, and progression through schooling. It invites research concerned with improved access to build on what is known and translate this to different contexts and the concerns of stakeholders at local levels.