Small Schools and Democratic Practice

by Clive Harber £6.99 (inc UK pp) 978-0951802-29-8  (pp)

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Small schools are an international experience, for they exist in large countries and small, rich countries and poor.  They also exist in public sectors and private. 

Despite being so common, they have both advocates and opponents. Those in favour applaud their personal atmosphere and their democratic role at the centre of local communities. Those against believe the accountants' claim that they have high unit costs, a claim that is in dispute. It is also asserted that they can only offer a restricted curriculum, a claim increasingly weakened by the changes in communications and computer technology.

This book examines the issue of school size in relation to a democratic ideology of education.  What is it about a small school that facilitates the development of democratic behaviours and values?  Small schools, it is argued, may well be a better investment for contemporary society because they can more easily educate for the democratic and flexible people required for the next century, and more easily avoid the risk of creating the large numbers of apathetic, hostile and vengeful young people from with large schools.

Dr. Clive Harber is Professor of Education, University of Birmingham


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