Co-operative Trusts and Academies

The Co-operative College has worked with the Co-operative Group and schools to develop a distinct co-operative Trust model that enables schools to embed co-operative values into the long term ethos of the school.

Co-operative Trust schools combine long term institutional partnerships with a membership structure that enables parents, learners, staff and community organisations to be directly involved in the Trust. Stakeholders drawn from these groups are elected to a Forum which holds the Trust to account, helps shape its policies and elects a proportion of trustees.

The stake-holding model puts the community at the heart of education provision, based on the belief that it is only through the active engagement of communities that the aspirations and expectations of educational achievement can be transformed.

The co-operative Trust model is being adapted and adopted by Trusts throughout the country, from small single school Trusts to large community-based clusters.

Find out more about becoming a co-operative Trust school:

Co-operative Trust schools brochure

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The Co-operative College Principal Mervyn Wilson discusses co-operative schools in this video produced by Co-operatives UK:


A co-operative model for converter Academies has received approval from the DfE. The co-operative Academy model was developed in partnership with a group of co-operative Trust schools who wanted to pursue academy status in view of the additional freedoms and funding available, whilst maintaining the essential characteristics of co-operative Trusts:

  • An ethos based on our globally shared co-operative values – which are included in the definitions in the articles for a co-operative Academy together with a specific values clause.
  • Direct engagement of key stakeholders and the local community in governance through membership and a members’ forum.

In addition the model provides a mechanism for a mutual support network of co-operative schools through the Schools Co-operative Society – a co-operative owned and democratically controlled by co-operative schools. It is supported by the Co-operative Group, Britain’s biggest co-operative and the Co-operative College, an educational charity.

Several schools which are currently members of co-operative Trusts are working towards achieving co-operative Academy status.

The Co-operative College and DWF solicitors, offer a comprehensive package of services to support schools throughout the process of conversion. If your school has already converted to an Academy using the standard articles it can convert to the co-operative model – and become part of the growing network of co-operative schools.

For details please contact

Find out more about becoming a co-operative Academy:

Co-operative Academies brochure


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