Schools Co-operative Society teams up with UNISON

Pam Howard, Chair of UNISON’s Schools’ Sector Committee and Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, sign the national agreement with Dave Boston, Chief Executive, the Schools Co-operative Society and Mervyn Wilson, Principal and Chief Executive, the Co-operative CollegeThe Schools Co-operative Society has signed a recognition agreement with the public sector trade union UNISON to protect the terms and conditions of school support staff. A National Joint Forum consisting of representatives from both the Schools Co-operative Society and UNISON will be established to ensure they work together to deliver quality education in partnership.

The Forum will produce model support staff agreements and good practice policies for implementation by co-operative schools locally, including ensuring continued access to the Local Government Pension Scheme for all support staff – on the same terms applying to those school support staff employed by the Local Authority.

The framework agreement covers the Schools Co-operative Society’s members, up to 150 co-operative schools across England (primarily Trusts, plus a small number of Academies). It puts the Society’s values and principles, shared by the schools in the network, into action, ensuring that staff will be treated fairly.

Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary, said: “We welcome this agreement, as a demonstration of the commitment on both sides to positive, partnership working. The Schools Co-operative Society and UNISON share many common values and it is important that we work together to protect the terms and conditions of school support staff and to deliver quality education.

“We are particularly pleased that Co-operative schools will continue to abide by both national and local authority agreements for school support staff.”

Dave Boston, Chief Executive of the Schools Co-operative Society and former Head Teacher at Sir Thomas Boughey Co-operative Learning Trust, said: “All co-operative schools work within a shared set of values that must impact on all aspects of the school’s life. For us the framework agreement is part of putting those values into practice and demonstrates our commitment to equality and equity, which mean fairness in the treatment of staff within the school, who we see as key stakeholders, who we wish to see involved in all aspects in the school’s democratic and working life.

“We see co-operative schools as providing new ways of strengthening community engagement and the schools’ roots with their communities. We recognise that it is only by all stakeholders working together that lasting improvements can be made for the benefit of young people. This agreement reflects the key role that school support staff make and will encourage all schools within the network to continue to develop a strong partnership approach with them. We thank UNISON for the lead they have given in working with us on the agreement.”

Find out more at

National Agreement

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