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Co-operative Schools

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assistance his Department is providing for the expansion of the co-operative schools network; by what mechanism schools become co-operative schools; and what target he has set for the number of co-operative schools. (307656)

A pilot of co-operative trust schools involving up to 100 schools was announced on 11 September 2008. The pilot provides up to an additional £5,000 for each school seeking to become a co-operative trust school (above and beyond the usual £10,000 support funding currently available for schools seeking trust status) to fund consultancy services, training and support to develop the membership model. The pilot will run for two years. The Secretary of State announced an aspiration of up to 200 co-operative schools at the co-operative conference on 11 September 2009.

The pilot is testing a particular model of trust school and any individual or organisation seeking to develop a co-operative membership trust is welcome to participate once we are satisfied of their ability of running a membership model. It is for the Governing Body of a school to decide whether or not trust status is right for the school, however, to access the support funding and advice and guidance on the technical processes around acquiring a trust, schools can submit an expression of interest to the Trust Schools programme. It is also possible for an academy to be established using the co-operative model.

Earlier this year, the Department published “Co-Operative Schools—Making a Difference”, which marks the first time we have produced a guide on co-operative schools. It shows the wide range of ways that schools can embed co-operative values into the ethos through a range of schools models and offers practical advice on how schools can do this, and the support available.

The Department is working with the Co-operative Group and college to set up a network to support and develop co-operative trust schools, academies and other educational institutions and is providing £25,000 of funding to help establish the new network.