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The Schools Co-operative Society co-ordinates the network of Co-operative Schools and provides advice and support to its members. It gives a voice to the rapidly growing co-operative sector within the UK educational system.  

 Owned by schools for schools. Their Co-operative


Co-operative Trust Schools

Trusts schools were developed as part of the last government's plans to re-shape education. The model is still available and has become increasingly popular, paticularly with clusters of schools.

Essentially a trust school is a maintained school supported by a charitable foundation (often called the trust). The trust appoints some of the governors. 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.

Although there are various forms of trust model, the Co-operative Trust Model has become very popular.

Co-operative Trusts adopt a co-operative model for their structures and governance. This usually involves:-

  • adopting co-operative values and pirnciples
  • 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.

The model is a membership based model with people from the stakeholder groups becoming members of the 'educational co-operative' for the school or cluster of schools.

The Co-operative College has extensive experience of developing trusts and sees this as a distinct advantage over other models and forms of trust.

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..

Co-operative College, Manchester

There are various forms of Co-operative Trust model:-

  • A single school co-operative trust
  • A cluster trust with several schools within the trust.
  • Hybrid models involving academies and trusts

Schools that form a cluster will retain their independence but gain advantages from working as part of a wider cluster.

Becoming a Co-operative Trust School

The Co-operative College has extensive experience with the process and can help schools and governing bodies with any stage of the process.

Further details about their work and how to contact them can be found on their website,



Co-operative Schools give important stakeholders a voice in their school.


Stakeholder groups are typically, parents, staff, members of the community and learners.

Co-operative values

  • Self-help
  • Self-responsibility
  • Democracy
  • Equality
  • Equity
  • Solidarity

» Find out more

Ethical values

  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Social responsibility
  • Caring for others

» Find out more

Co-operative principles

Guidelines by which co-operatives
put their values into action

» Find out more