Co-operative trust schools form national network

November 05, 2009

A special network to support the rapidly growing co-operative trust school sector will be formally launched today (5 November) at a conference in Manchester.

In the 18 months since the first co-operative trust school was established at Reddish Vale, near Stockport, 26 schools have formed 15 different trusts and a further 120 schools are committed to the idea.

Each trust is set up as a co-operative and in turn each one will be a member of the network, which is also being established as a co-operative with the school members driving the network.

Co-operative College Principal Mervyn Wilson said: ”One of the most exciting things over the past 12 months has been seeing the energy and vision of schools working towards trust status using the co-operative model. The network will provide a unique opportunity for everyone involved to start sharing some of that experience and provide a voice for the growing number of co-operative trusts.”

The network will enable heads, governors and representatives from existing and prospective co-operative trust schools to share experiences, best practice and develop ideas and services for member schools.

Speakers at the conference include: Steve Munby, Chief Executive, National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services; John Chowcat, Chief Executive, Association of Professionals in Education and Children’s Trusts; Phil Revell, Chief Executive, National Governors Association and Karen Mort from the Foundation & Aided Schools National Association.

Russell Gill, Head of Membership at The Co-operative Group, said: “The original co-operative societies formed in the mid 19th Century formed the federal Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS) which meant co-operatives could work together for benefit of their members. Therefore, it is most appropriate that we should again be using that same model for this new network.

“The co-operative trusts allow all stakeholders greater participation in the running of the school and our values offer schools an ethos which we believe can lead to higher standards, aspirations and achievements.”