Bridging the educational gap: solutions for schools in deprived urban communities

Disadvantaged neighbourhoods experience several social and environmental problems, overburdened and understaffed schools being often one of them. Schools that struggle with image issues, growing diversity and a lack of qualified staff need the increased cooperation of all stakeholders to reverse the course of development.

Towards more sustainable and inclusive cities

Various European programmes and initiatives are dedicated to developing sustainable cities and inclusive services from multiple angles, including the New European Bauhaus initiative. In underprivileged urban areas, schools and educational projects play an important role to advance social cohesion and have the potential to improve the quality of life of children and families in these areas.

The measures cover different methods such as fostering social and cultural integration, targeted professional development frameworks based on socioeconomic factors, and preferential access for at-risk pupils.

For example, in Barcelona, school playgrounds are transformed into climate change adaptive spaces alongside applying educational measures. In Rotterdam, a major initiative has helped young people find the right jobs thanks to cooperation between schools, local businesses and other stakeholders. 

Schools and community joining forces

The EU-funded Cohesion Network project (CoNet) reports how schools can promote social cohesion in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Some of these multi-targeted and multi-faceted approaches include:

  • Promoting parental involvement by ensuring a thorough curriculum that includes families and the larger social environment;
  • Providing the necessary amenities and environmental design, which creates a good and supportive living environment within schools and improves children’s well-being;
  • Overcoming educational gaps by creating seamless transitions and channels for ongoing learning between various educational levels;
  • Pre-school and after-school care facilities will encourage compatibility between family and professional life.

Photo: Irina Schmidt / Adobe stock