What are co-operative schools?
There are currently three formal ways that schools can embed a co-operative ethos into their schools: trust schools, specialist schools and co-operative academies. What are co-operative Trust schools? Trust schools are maintained schools supported by a charitable foundation (popularly known as a trust) which appoints some of the governors. The trust involves one or more partners and can help schools build long term, sustainable relationships with partners and, using their experience and expertise, strengthen leadership and governance to help raise standards. The Government has indicated that there are no plans to close off the option for community and foundation schools to convert to trust schools, where they would remain within the LA maintained sector. How is a co-operative trust school different? The co-operative trust model embeds co-operative values and principles into schools. These include open membership, equal democratic participation (one member, one vote) and a clear line of accountability from those who manage the schools to those that use the school and its extended services. Importantly this offers schools the opportunity to involve the wider community in the running of the school, including local people, businesses, voluntary groups, charities, parents, pupils and staff through membership of a ‘Council’ or ‘Forum’. The ‘Council’ appoints trustees to the trust which, in turn, appoints governors to the governing body of the school. The Council plays a pivotal role in delivering the trust’s objectives in accordance with the core co-operative values.