Co-operative Academies

Martin Field's picture
Does anyone have any information about whether Co-operative Academies are any better than the rest of them? Are they the best option if we have to go down that path or are they as bad as the rest?
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Jane Eades's picture
Sun, 29/04/2012 - 11:11

About 4 years ago at, I think, the Labour Party Conference I got into a discussion with someone who was arguing for Cooperative academies. His argument was that the Cooperative model was better than the others and would involve the local community. My argument was that the cooperative movement should be actively campaigning against the break up of locally organised education, subject to democratic oversight.

My view on the "better model" argument is illustrated by: I believe that capital punishment is wrong, therefore it is better if I act as the hangman because I will do it sympathetically.

Ben Taylor's picture
Sun, 29/04/2012 - 15:32

The co-operative model is a democratic form of organisation. It is probably closer to the community than many representative elected councils manage.

I don't know why the opponents of free schools and academies don't just make their existing functions attractive, so that all the demand and need for for these alternatives evaporates. But this form of accountability and seems to be meaningless and false to the opposers.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Sun, 29/04/2012 - 19:48

It sounds like you don't understand the intense bullying pressures schools have been put under to convert without consulting Ben.

Martin their website says they now have over 100 co-op schools so your best bet would be to try and talk directly to one or more of them I suspect.

Please let us know what you find.

Phil Arnold's picture
Mon, 30/04/2012 - 12:30

We are a new co-operative converter academy and it is helping us. In fact we are not alone in using the internationally shared co-operative values, ethics and principle to help young people learn. Together we worked with others to set up to show how we can continue to improve by working together.

I don’t think these are new ideas but they do offer a way to move forward. Why not come and have a look?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 30/04/2012 - 13:42

How do you operate within your local area now you are a co-op academy Phil?

Phil Arnold's picture
Mon, 30/04/2012 - 14:11

We have established a Co-op Foundation Trust in 2008 to offer a way to look at educational, economic and social change. This is open to all schools in the area. For example, we are working on a £1m bid for communities living sustainably this involves all different kinds of stakeholders in working together to make their community a better place to live and work. It's all about working with people through a shared set of empowering ethics.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 30/04/2012 - 16:02

So does a school have to be an academy to become a co-op school? And if a school is forced to become and academy will becoming a co-op school meet that requirement?

Sorry for my ignorance Phil and thanks for your answers.

Sarah's picture
Mon, 30/04/2012 - 19:09

Schools can adopt the cooperative model by becoming Trust schools (ie Foundation schools with a foundation) as well as via the Academy route. The Brigshaw Federation is one such cooperative trust in West Yorkshire. It was a model that was being pushed by the last government but isn't supported now with the current government pushing those interested in the cooperative movement towards Academy trusts instead.

Alasdair Smith's picture
Wed, 02/05/2012 - 09:23

It's privatisation by nice guys

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