Co-operative trusts – the network grows!

Six more schools, two in Southampton, one in Plymouth, one in Telford, one in Staffordshire and one in North Lincolnshire became the latest to join the growing family of co-operative trust schools during Co-operatives Fortnight, bringing the total operational at the end of Co-operatives Fortnight to 70. A further 18 schools are scheduled to complete all the legal processes and become operational by the end of July, with co-operative trusts in Cornwall, Leeds, Gloucestershire and Sefton in Merseyside.

Co-operative College Principal Mervyn Wilson said: “We are bang on target to meet the former Secretary of State’s target of having 100 co-operative trust schools in place by September. We expect around 110 schools will be in place by the time they return after the summer break, and with those consulting and completing the statutory processes that figure will continue to grow steadily throughout the autumn term.”

Co-operative trusts are continuing to be popular despite the new Government’s priorities for academies and free schools.

Mervyn added: “What will be important going forward is to have co-operative models available for all of the structural models for schools. The Government’s emphasis on new free schools draws heavily on Swedish co-operative legislation from the early ‘90s, but we should remember that that led to the development of over 100 new co-operative schools, directly involving local communities in running schools, particularly in rural areas. It will be important that there are co-operative models for the new academies and free schools, as well as co-operative trusts, so that co-operative schools continue to grow.”

Launches of new co-operative trusts took place at many schools, during co-operatives fortnight, with work now well underway to build membership and embed co-operative values in the ongoing lives of the school.

Mervyn Wilson, Chief Exec of The Co-operative College cuts the ribbon on the launch of the Pegasus Co-operative Learning Trust during the Wrockwardine Wood Arts College Summer Fair in Telford on International Co-operative Day. From the left...Richard Williams, Principal, Stephen Burrell, Lead Member (Education) Telford and Wrekin Council, David Wright MP, and Mervyn Wilson.

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