As of today, there are 53 co-operative schools registered across the country.
Sir Thomas Boughey in Stoke on Trent is one of the early ones. I was hearing about their progress from Mervyn Wilson at the Co-operative College.
A recent Ofsted report testified to the difference that a co-operative rather than a competitive culture makes: “The school’s specialism of business and the Co-operative movement’s support chime with its ethos of equality, fairness and sustainability, and permeate all that it does.”
“This is an outstanding school that constantly strives for excellence in all it does.
Students’ excellent behaviour and attitudes around the site and in lessons makes a significant contribution to the warm and friendly atmosphere of the school.
Community cohesion is a strength of the school and is integral to its specialism of business and the Co-operative movement. This has helped the school develop strong links locally, nationally and internationally.
In addition, students participate in a wide range of young enterprise activities as ‘true workers’ cooperatives’, thereby embedding fair-trade practices and sustainability and the development of effective business skills.”
When I was in the area, on my meet the members travels, I met some of the children who travelled to Lesotho recently from another co-operative school, the Sutherland Business and Enterprise College. Carl Ward, in the photo, is director of innovation at the school in Telford. Carl and the young people he teaches are visionaries and part of a movement that could transform the social environment for children over time. That, at least, is their aim.