Government challenged to support Co-operative education

Meg Munn MP calls for Government support for Co-operative Schools

National Political and Policy Manager


Today Meg Munn MP (Lab/Co-op) will call for the Government to support her ‘Co-operative Schools Bill’.

Co-operative Trust Schools, launched by the last Labour Government, are a major success story. There are now hundreds of co-operative schools across England. Co-operative schools represent a co-operative response to the break-up of the education system, seen by many as a stage in its privatisation. This Bill will ensure that the large demand for co-operative status is better able to be met.

 

The Bill was developed with the Co-operative College. Mervyn Wilson, Principal of the Co-operative College stated, “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.”.

The Bill has two key clauses.  Firstly, it calls for schools to be able to register themselves as Industrial & Provident Societies, and for an amendment to the Education Act 2006 to ensure that nursery schools are able to establish school Trusts. Schools currently have to work around existing legislation, as no provision is made in the relevant acts for Industrial & Provident Societies.

Nursery schools are currently excluded from becoming parts of Trusts, and the Bill also proposes that by enabling nursery schools to become full members of Trusts, or academies, this would help to provide a vehicle for parental and family engagement in Early Years education.

Meg Munn MP stated that; “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. My bill will make it easier to set up co-operative schools embedding these values in education right from nurseries through to secondary schools.”

The Bill is supported by teaching union NASUWT and the Shadow Secretary of State for Education Stephen Twigg MP.

Chris Keates, General Secretary, NASUWT; “Co-operative solutions put stakeholders in the driving seat of securing quality education for all children and young people.  This Bill would provide opportunities for applying the principle of mutualism in a context of increasing institutional diversity in a way that assures and secures the principles and values of public education.”

Stephen Twigg MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education; ‘Co-operative schools play an important part in our education system, we in the Labour Party want to see their continued development. The continued expansion and use of Co-operative values and models in education is something that we are studying within our policy review. This Bill gives further examples of practical measures we could take forward this important area of policy’.

ENDS

Note for editors.

  1. Meg Munn MP will be presenting the Bill at 2.30pm today (Wednesday 17th April) in the House of Commons. For further comment please contact Joanne Wilson 0114 258 2010
  2. The Co-operative Party is the political arm of the co-operative movement and Labour’s sister party. There are 9 Welsh Assembly Labour Co-operative members, 32 Labour Co-operative MPs and over a 1000 Labour Co-operative local councillors.
  3. For more information and full briefing please contact Joe Fortune, Parliamentary Officer, Co-operative Party  (j.fortune@party.coop – 07984787947).