his paper advances the theoretical and applied connection between education policy and community development. We call this community-aware education policy, and it is based on Dean's (2012) conception of human need that is thick (i.e., accounts for a relational context), rather than relying solely on a thin conception (i.e., instrumental view with an individualistic focus). It is our contention that contemporary policy initiatives can be better designed and implemented so that individual and professional goals are attained while family and community well-being are enhanced. Using literature from the field of community development highlighting social support concepts, we "thicken" the concept of social policy to arrive at our theory of community-aware education policy. This theory is then applied to two cases in different national policy contexts: universal pre-kindergarten in New York State (US) and full-service schools in England (UK). Ultimately, we argue for a thick approach to need that results in the provision of a range of services and activities to serve children in schools better, and also the communities in which they reside.