Developing links between co-operative schools in the UK and Spain
Co-operative schools in the UK have been developing links with co-operative schools in Spain through a partnership between the Co-operative College, the Andalusian Association of Co-operative Schools (ACES) and UCETAM, their equivalent in Madrid.
Spanish co-operative school C.D.P. Arboleda in Seville has been doing a language exchange and sharing experiences with Hunterhouse College, a co-operative Business & Enterprise College in Belfast, via ACES. Reyes González Rodríguez said: “We are proud and satisfied with the outcome. The school we are living this adventure with is wonderful and it is a great way of working for our students.”
UCETAM suggested developing a two-year bilingual and cultural exchange project, which has started with teacher exchanges throughout the year (from February-March) and will continue with student exchanges.
Staff from The Phoenix Federation in Lincolnshire, which comprises Boston Park & Gosberton Primary Schools, took part in a teachers’ exchange through UCETAM, visiting Artica and Madrigal co-operative schools. Maxine Walker said: “They had a lovely time and were very well looked after. As a result of this exchange, we are going to look closely at the differences in how we teach – we think that we need to review our practice in the UK. We feel we have much to learn and share from each other.”
Carol Clare, Principal of the Phoenix Federation, added: “We had the most wonderful experience and the welcome from both schools was second to none. The children were delightful and enjoyed practising their English language skills with ‘native’ English people!
“At Artica School, we particularly enjoyed learning about the co-operative style of teaching and learning and attended training on our first day. The leadership structure and composition at both schools was also very interesting and quite different to our own. The ‘shareholder’ model was a revelation to us and we intend on speaking to our co-operative representative in the UK about this specifically.
“We currently have two of the teachers visiting our schools. I hope they have a lot to take back to Spain – there is so much we can learn from each other. We will be making a presentation to our Senior Leaders and also Governors and report to them recommendations for any changes to our practice as a result of the visit.” In future it is hoped that new ways can be found to develop the partnership, including head teacher exchanges to observe the running of co-operative schools at a strategic level.
Both projects aim not only to foster strong links between schools but to develop understanding of learning and organisation methods in Spain, which has a long tradition of co-operative education.
Published On: June 19, 2012
Written By: Natalie