The Co-operative: Good with Schools?

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This is a blog about the Co-operative Good with schools by Max Coates, Institute of Education, London.

Each month, as part of my BELMAS subscription, I receive a monthly journal from BELMAS / SAGE publications. In each publication, there are a range of synopses from academics across the world. Occasionally I tweet the odd photograph, but this time I have decided to blog a short preview from some of my favourite articles this month …

Co-operative Trust Schools:

This article is a summary of a small-scale research project which considers the formation of Co-operative Trust Schools. This was carried out in 2013 at a time when the number of schools becoming Academies and Trust Schools through the Co-operative College was burgeoning.

  • Research conducted by Max Coates – Institute of Education, London.

In 2006, under the then Labour Government, The Education & Inspections Act enabled the development of trust schools, which were independent of the local authority (LA). The author examines Co-operative Trust Schools to build up a comprehensive picture of the movement to Academies and Trust Schools through the Co-operative College.

The full article can be found in these journals and in the download link below.


In 2013, at the time this research was being conducted, 400 schools were affiliated with the Co-operative College, making them a substantial player in the newly developing education landscape. The author uses questionnaires, interviews, documentary analysis and website analysis to achieve his aim. The survey results and interviews revealed that participants felt that their experience affiliated with the Co-operative College was a positive one.

However, further investigation indicated that schools are apparently detached from the principles underpinning the (CC) Co-operative College. On many participating school websites it was difficult to find links to the Co-operative College or to their principles. Three out of the four schools interviewed explained that their affiliation with the CC was based on the decision of an individual who had since left the institution. This reduced the impetus to sustain the Co-operative concept.

The author concludes that, in essence, the difference between the Co-operative College system and following the Academy route independently was not in the way the schools were run but, in principle at least, the values which were espoused. He also expresses a concern that although schools are seemingly benefiting from the affiliation with the Schools Co-operative Society, it is not clear whether the organisation is able to maintain the development of affiliated schools without change to the organisation’s original values.


I have managed to arrange for the full article to be accessible on the SAGE website until the end of April 2015 here. Sage Journals provides research tools, journal alerts, and online journal access information in a dedicated portal for all individual users, students, researchers.

I hope you enjoy the article I have highlighted.

The Co-operative: Good with schools?

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