MP tables Bill for Co-operative Schools


Schools are being encouraged to work closer with parents and their local communities by becoming “co-operative” in a move being seen as a counter to the creeping privatisation of state education.

Under the plans, proposed by Meg Munn MP, it will become easier for schools to become co-operative. The MP launched her Co-operative Schools Bill in the House of Commons last week.

It calls on schools to be able to register themselves as Industrial and Provident Societies, and is seeking an amendment to the Education Act 2006 to ensure that nursery schools are able to join primaries and secondaries in establishing school Trusts.

Co-operative Schools place a high focus on schools, teachers and the community working together. At the core of co-operative philosophy is the development of young people into active global citizens.

The Co-operative movement was set up more than 160 years ago and grew to cover a large number of fields, from finance to farming and retail. In recent years, changes to the way schools can operate has allowed the creation of a  new sector of the UK co-operative movement. The educational co-operative sector is now growing and the Schools Cooperative Society has been created to help co-ordinate the sector.

Ms Munn said: “Children get the best education when schools, parents and communities work together and when they feel their views are taken into account. This approach is at the heart of co-operative schools; supporting children to feel valued and to take responsibility for themselves and their communities.”

Ms Munn’s Bill, which has been supported by Labour, was developed with the Co-operative College. Principal Mervyn Wilson said: “In the last five years nearly 500 schools have adopted co-operative models, the measures proposed in the Bill would help further develop the strong co-operative presence now emerging within our education sector.”


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