Schools & Young People
Why we work with schools
Over 50 years ago, A V Alexander MP, a Co-operative Party supported Member of Parliament described a visit he had made to a school:
“I asked them if they could tell me how many wives Henry VIII had and what were their names. The majority of boys in the class could answer that question straight away, but when I asked if they could tell me who was Robert Owen and when he was born, or on what day the British co-operative movement was founded, they could not give me any answer.”
In many schools today the answer would remain the same which is why the Co-operative College supports efforts to get co-operation and its values understood in schools
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The engagement of the co-operative movement with education is nothing new. When it started in the mid-nineteenth century, the co-operative movement provided educational activities for members and their families, and education is one of the underpinning principles of the co-operative movement globally.
The first known co-operative school was established by the followers of Robert Owen in Salford in the 1830s, and in recent years the UK co-operative sector has widened its engagement with schools. Inspiring a new generation to support and engage with co-operative values and principles is a key part of the Co-operative College’s work.
The main areas of the Co-operative College’s work with schools and young people are:
- Establishing co-operative Trust schools across the country.
- Developing a model for co-operative academies.
- Setting up a nationwide co-operative trust schools network.
Business and enterprise colleges: