Association, people, identity.
We often say in education that schools are a microcosm of the wider world. Within every school there will be people who represent every identity and every set of skills that are present in the community in which they are located. Each one of you will know someone who excels in a particular subject, activity, sport, instrument or other creative endeavour. A community therefore is a place where all of these skills and talents come together in pursuit of ‘the common good’.
The idea of community is nothing new. Its origin is ancient but from the earliest times its meaning was much more than simply ‘a group of people’. When human beings first began to settle in villages, and later towns and cities, they accepted that by doing so they were surrendering some part of their individual sovereignty in return for all the benefits that come from living in close proximity to a wider group of people with a more diverse range of skills.
One of the things you may have discovered in this period of isolation is that you are spending far more of your day doing chores. A simple trip to the supermarket can become a morning’s work if the queue is long and, when you finally gain entry, your favourite brand of chocolate, cereal, pasta or fizzy drink may be missing from the shelves. We have come to expect that everything we need is at our fingertips and available almost instantaneously. However, even Amazon and Ebay will be slower to deliver than usual and we can’t just pop out to the café or the hairdressers when we feel like it.
In any community there are both privileges and responsibilities that accompany membership. In return for all the benefits we get from belonging we promise to contribute something in return. In sharing our particular gifts and talents with others we hope that they will do likewise in return. As a consequence, we all benefit from the wider knowledge and experience that comes from being in a larger group.
Every association is different but as an Academy whose mission is “to be an outstanding learning community where together we learn to know, to do, to be and to live together” our purpose is clear. In coming together we support one another to be the best that we can be and model the standard that we expect and would wish to find in others.
To belong to a community is to act in a way that supports and develops both ourselves and those around us for the common good of everyone.
How will you exercise this Lanfranc value whilst in isolation?
Please send any examples of ‘community’ to the email@example.com address so we can share them with, and inspire, others.