Stand-alone and Multi-Academy Trusts
A co-operative model for converter Academies was first approved by the DfE in 2010. The model was developed in partnership with a group of co-operative Trust schools who wanted to pursue academy status in view of the additional freedoms and funding available, whilst maintaining the essential characteristics of co-operative Trusts:
- An ethos based on our globally shared co-operative values – which are included through a specific values clause in the articles for a co-operative Academy.
- Direct engagement of key stakeholders and the local community in governance through membership and a members’ forum.
In addition the model provides a link to a mutual support network of co-operative schools through the Schools Co-operative Society – a co-operative itself, owned and democratically controlled by co-operative schools. Many schools which are currently members of co-operative Trusts are now pursuing or considering conversion to co-operative Academy status.
“The membership scheme and forum offered by the co-operative model will provide the local community with a stronger voice in the education provision in this area and help shape future developments. Their expertise and experience will also strengthen our governance. We endorse the co-operative values and will build on our existing partnerships and work with new partners for the benefit of all our pupils and the local community. The freedoms offered by becoming an Academy bring greater financial security and more options for our small school. We are very excited about it.”
– Head teacher, Cumbria
Current Department for Education policy is for schools to form or join Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) and, again, there is co-operative model for MATs. The idea of working together with other schools is second nature to those who have been part of co-operative trusts and many are now converting these to MATs. The co-operative MAT is an ideal local solution which allows higher performing schools to support the improvement of their neighbours who may require it. At the same time, all the schools can remain committed to the same set of values and these will shape the way in which they collaborate.
The Co-operative College, along with its legal partners, offers a comprehensive service to support schools through the process of conversion. If your school has already converted to an Academy using the standard articles it can convert to the co-operative model – and become part of the growing network of co-operative schools.
The Co-operative College is not an academy sponsor and does not run any schools directly. We do, however, work closely with the Co-operative Group’s Co-operative Academies Trust and a number of academies sponsored by the Schools’ Co-operative Society.
Confused? Well it is a very complex landscape but if you think we might be able to help find a co-operative solution for your school please don’t hesitate to contact us!
You can read the Co-operative College’s policy with respect to Free Schools here.
For further information about co-operative Academies and Multi-Academy Trusts see:
Co-operative Academies: Stronger Together
Co-operatives, co-operative schools and co-operative education
Co-operative Schools – A guide for NASUWT members