December 09, 2006


We must aspire to create a village community with which people have a bond which extends well beyond it being a place of work.


The first stage in belonging is an identification with a definable community. We are more likely to bond with members of our community if we share values and a common sense of purpose.

These bonds are strengthened and the community extended if people have the opportunity of networking with other people who share our common sense of purpose.

A sense of belonging can result in the notion of mutual benefit - "this might not help me but it will help our community" - as this is strengthened we feel that others in our community may do things which will benefit us. If we feel that there is significant mutual benefit to be gained from helping our community then people are more likely to volunteer to do things to benefit our community.

Identification: We face a challenge in that most people in education only really feel an identification with their own school - or in some cases only a small part of that school. As the community opens out - school, local cluster of schools, local authority, national community - there is less and less likelihood that there will be a strong identification with that community. We wish to create a sense of belonging amongst all of our people to our educational community within East Lothian, whilst at the same time reinforcing our identification with other local, national and international communities.

Shared Values: The explicit reference to our values should be a common feature of our practice - people should have the opportunity to actively engage in dialogue about these values - above all else our values should be demonstrated consistently in all of our practice

Networking: We should seek to provide a wide range of opportunities for people to develop networks beyond their own immediate environment. These networks should be linked to East Lothian but seek to extend beyond our own boundaries.

Mutual Benefit: People should be encouraged to discover the mutual benefit which can be had from sharing ideas and practice within their community. Examples of mutual benefit can be used to reinforce the sense of belonging and the value of working together.

Volunteering: Volunteering - to benefit the community - not for self interest - is the key indicator of whether or not people feel any sense of belonging to their community. We need to provide opportunities for people to actively volunteer to engage in the change process in East Lothian - confident that their contribution is valued and worthwhile.