Schools Co-operative Society

  • Co-operative Trust Schools

    The Co-operative Foundation Trust model was developed in 2008 as opportunities arose for schools to develop more autonomy with their governance and partnership arrangements. As with all co-operative school models, Foundations Trusts retain an element of democratic accountability which roots them in their communities.

    Essentially a Foundation Trust School is a maintained school supported by a charitable foundation (often called the Trust). The Trust appoints some of the governors in most models, but schools maintain both links to the Local Authority and local autonomy. By involving partners in the Trust, the aim is to use their experience and expertise to strengthen the leadership and governance and hence to help raise standards.

    "In the end it’s quite simple; it’s about changing the world for the better" Learner Member at a Co-operative School

Despite being in existence in other countries for many years, by the turn of the millennium, very few schools in the UK were directly using Co-operative Values and Principles as part of their education offering. Building upon an early model of Business and Enterprise Colleges, in 2007 a small group of head teachers and education professionals began to work with the Co-operative College to investigate ways in which co-operative ideals could be built into school governance.  This led to the creation of the Co-operative Foundation Trust Model which is utilised by hundreds of schools today.

Although many similar models are available, Co-operative Foundation Trusts adopt a co-operative model for their structures and governance involving:-

  • acquiring a foundation – the land and assets of the school transfer from the local authority to a locally-run charitable trust.
  • adopting Co-operative Values and Principles
  • ensuring that the key stakeholders such as parents, staff, learners and members of the local community have a guaranteed ‘say’ in the affairs of the organisation.
  • schools retain their independence but gain advantages from working as part of a wider cluster.

Whilst current government policy has a clear focus to convert all schools to academies, the Co-operative Foundation Trust model has a valid place in forming solid partnerships with a strong shared vision and values. Each Trust is an independent co-operative in its own right and must make its own decisions about how the value are applied in day-to-day activities of the school, however Co-operative Values and Principles are at the heart of the organisation in successful co-operative school.

Some of our regional networks and national partners such as the Co-operative College can offer directly or sign-post to professional services to support schools such as;

  • Education support and challenge
  • Foundation Trust conversion advice and project management
  • HR and Payroll
  • Co-operative governance training
  • Central purchasing and procurement

If you are considering joining a Co-operative Foundation Trust or forming a new one, please get in touch with your regional SCS network, or the main SCS office if there is no network in your region.

What types of school do you support?

We will support any school that would like to work together and who shares our vision and values of co-operative educati...

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© 2017 Schools Co-operative Society Ltd. (SCS)
The Schools Co-operative Society Ltd is registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014. Registration no. 031278R

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Schools Co-operative Society
c/o Beaufort Co-op Academy
Holmleigh Park,
Gloucester
GL4 0RT
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