featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action


informal education in schools

This special feature explores some of the current developments around informal education in schools and colleges. 
We also include links to some key resources in the informal education encyclopedia and archives.

informal education in schools and colleges - some issues and possibilities
In recent years there has been a significant growth in the numbers of informal educators working in formal educational settings like schools and colleges. We explore the phenomenon – and some of the possibilities and problems involved.

picture: ari is facilitating - Shira Golding/ - reproduced under a Creative Commons licence - see acknowledgements

full-service schooling
The idea of full-service schooling has aroused considerable interest. In the United States a range of initiatives have been taken; and it has been considered as a serious policy option in Britain and Australia. It entails informal educators (and other workers) taking their place alongside teachers in schools. But what issues surround it?

new community schools
In a fascinating initiative, over 150 Scottish schools are developing more integrated services to raise attainment and promote social inclusion. Will they work? What is the role of informal education?

learning mentors
In recent years well over 1000 learning mentors have been appointed and are at work in inner city schools in England. What are they doing? To what extent are they informal educators? What issues face them? 

some historical insights

village colleges
Henry Morris' championship of the village college has been a significant feature of, and inspiration for, discussions about the worth of community schooling. On this page we explore Henry Morris's vision of the village college (for more see Henry Morris) though the design and experience of Impington Village College.

ragged schools and the development of youth work and informal education
One of the great movements of Victorian philanthropy, ragged schools provided for children and young people who were excluded by virtue of their poverty from other forms of schooling. A key feature of their work was that they moved significantly beyond the simple provision of educational opportunity – and as such both provided an example for of youth and adult provision, and a concrete base for their development.

youth work in schools
Youth work has been wrapped up with schooling since its early days. We explore practice over the years.

from the archives

informal education - a place in the new school curriculum?
Dave Burley's exploration of informal education in schooling. Chapter 5 in Jeffs and Smith (1990) Using Informal Education.

Acknowledgement: The picture 'Ari is facilitating' was taken by Shira Golding and is reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic licence. It can be found on