Local Community Fund kicks off rural education research in the Glenkens

Glenkens and District Trust has appointed the community research organisation, CoDeL, to research and report on developments in rural education.

As local and national debate continues around high quality education in the context of rural depopulation and falling school rolls, Glenkens & District Trust (GDT) took the step of commissioning research, in order to provide access to information about the wider picture beyond the Glenkens, and learning about how other communities facing similar circumstances are responding.

Following a tender process, a community research organisation based on Uist, Community Development Lens (CoDeL), was successful in its bid to carry out the work. CoDeL is committed to community development in a rural context, paying particular attention to the creation of opportunities for younger people to influence and reshape their local communities.

CoDel’s work will involve case studies of other rural areas, working with local organisations, collating existing research and building a network of interested parties. It will culminate in a report that will inform the debate and offer new ways of thinking for community groups on the topic of education, both for the Glenkens and beyond.

Fiona Smith, Chair of GDT, said:
“GDT is pleased to have appointed CoDeL to carry out this work. CoDeL is extremely knowledgeable about the current challenges faced in rural communities and the need to address the underlying contributory factors to depopulation. They demonstrated that they understand education’s role in a thriving local community and we’re confident CoDeL is going to bring its expertise, values and creative thinking to the local context here in Glenkens.”

CoDeL expect to be making links with local stakeholders over the next few months and will also be liaising with the Glenkens and District Community Action Plan Steering Group’s Education Subcommittee, which will be discussing education and learning in the Glenkens through a community lens.

Thomas Fisher, Director at CoDeL said:
“We are always pleased and encouraged to be commissioned by a community organisation. It shows a community committed to staying at the heart of local decision-making and to finding new ways to make the best decisions for their residents. We look forward to working alongside the Glenkens community, learning more about the local context and hopefully bringing our own expertise to bear.”

While the final report will be a valuable tool in informing thinking and discussion, it is also hoped that the process itself will be an important one in which local people can connect, build links and share ideas.