Co-operative Trust

Torpoint and Rame Co-operative Learning Trust

Please click the links below for further information about the Co-operative Trust.

Trust Members

Following a period of Public Consultations, the College adopted Foundation Status by becoming a Co-operative Trust on 31st December 2011.

Trust Focus

The focus of the trust is:

  • To strengthen existing and develop new partnerships securing the Trust Board’s commitment for the benefit of the Trust community’s pupil’s and students: employability – developing a range of skills, qualities and knowledge – and the requisite qualifications!
  • To build membership and increase stakeholder involvement so that the Co-operative Trust is an asset to the community’s pupils and students and enhances local support and regeneration
  • To promote and support improvement in teaching and learning and leadership in the Trust school’s communities for the benefit of pupils and students
  • To work collaboratively, secure even better value for money within the Trust schools so that in turn this is used to benefit pupil’s and students

Trust Minutes


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.


Once a trust is set up, who is financially responsible?

The trust is managed by the Board of Trustees, which is financially responsible for the trust. The school remains funded in the same way as previously and the finances are managed by the Governing Body. A trust school is a Local Authority maintained school and will continue to be financed in the same way as other maintained schools.


Who are the members?

There are different categories of membership; parent, staff (anyone who works for the school, from caretakers to teachers), learners and community members (aimed at small community groups who don’t carry enough weight to be a full blown partner in the Trust but still have an interest in the school). Some schools also have the option for individuals from the local community to become members. The members of a co-operative trust elect a stakeholder forum. Members of the trust have a direct say in the trust, electing a number of Trustees (usually a minority). Governance mechanisms ensure key stakeholders – parents/carers, staff, learners and the local community – have a voice through membership.

Ethos and Raising Achievement

What do you mean by a ‘co-operative ethos’ in schools?

The College works with co-operative schools to look at how the globally shared co-operative values and ethos can have a real impact on the running of the school and curriculum and develop a co-operative pedagogy.

Raising Achievement

How can co-operative values help schools improve standards? Co-operative values can help schools raise standards in a variety of ways including through developing partnerships, helping to engage the local community in the strategic direction of schools and strengthening the curriculum. They can also help students gain a better understanding of their role as citizens and how they can help build a fairer society.


What is a trust partner?

The Charitable Trust is formed with a number of partners, who become part of the trust. These often include a local college, HE establishment or university, a prominent local business, national organisations, the NHS at a local level, sporting organisations, voluntary or community organisations and other organisations with a general concern about the education and welfare of young people. Sustainable relationships with external partners can bring renewed drive and expertise to the school and help improve standards. Some representatives from the partners sit on the trust board. Will the Trust partners make a profit out of the school? No. The school budget will continue to go directly to the governing body, not to the trust. Trusts must be constituted as not-for-profit charities – any income must be used to support their charitable aims, which must focus on the advancement of education and community cohesion.

Parents and Staff

Do parents have a say about trust schools?

Yes. Parents will be consulted about the proposed trust and will be able to express their views.


Will the governing body and Headteacher have less control in running the school? There will be no reduction in the role and responsibilities of the governing body of trust schools. The governing body of a trust school (which retains parents, staff, community and local authority governors) remains responsible for all major decisions about the school and its future as well as all aspects of the conduct of the school (including the school’s budget and staff) and so responsibilities and accountabilities remain clear. The trust holds the land and capital assets on trust for the Governing Body of the school. Headteachers will retain their responsibility for the day-to-day running of their schools.

Land and Assets, Clusters

Can the school’s land and assets be sold if the school becomes a trust?

The Land and Assets are held in trust and cannot be sold without permission of the LA and/or the Secretary of State. If the Land and Assets are sold the proceeds can only be used for the purposes of the trust – ie to promote education and for no other purpose.

What is a cluster?

A trust can be formed for a number of schools working together, which has the potential to be very powerful – often one or more high schools plus partner primaries. Over the past year, it has been more and more common to be approached by clusters of schools hoping to become Trusts. One benefit is resourcing can be used a lot more efficiently – a cluster of schools has increased purchasing power, for example.

Schools Cooperative Society

What is the Schools Co-operative Society?

The Schools Co-operative Society is an independent body that is a secondary co-operative run and owned by the co-operative schools. The Network has practical and administrative benefits, such as procurement of services and teacher training, but it also acts as a voice for the group of schools.