As the apex body of co-operative education in the UK, we are working with other co-operative educators, academics, students, practitioners and critical friends to explore various models of co-operative higher education, the idea of a co-operative university and the prospect of degree awarding powers made possible as a result of the UK Higher Education Research Act 2017.

Our Education and Research Conference this coming May contains a strand dedicated to a future co-operative University. Read more about this here.

April 2018 update

Following our Co-operative University Conference late last year, we met with the two higher education regulators, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). At these meetings we discussed the radical nature of our ideas for a future Co-operative University including:-

  • An alternative member driven democratic governance and ownership
  • Co-operative pedagogy and accreditation
  • A distinctive approach to student fees and funding

We are pleased to say that these ideas, along with the notion of a federated model, (in which a number of education co-operatives can offer the whole range of formal, informal, accredited and non-accredited provision), seemingly posed no problems in principle. 

At both meetings we continued to take a dual track approach: exploring the idea of the College acquiring degree awarding powers in its own right alongside the development of a federated Co-operative University model. We are seeking to do both and firmly believe they are complementary and indeed mutually beneficial. 

Two weeks ago the College formally registered with the Office for Students and more recently, our CEO and Vice Principal both attended an Office for Students information event in Manchester. The plans for acquiring Degree Awarding Powers and developing a model for a future Co-operative University are on track. 

Network Update

Two distinct networks emerged out of the Co-operative University conference.

CHEN - The Co-operative Higher Education Network – a general purpose mailing list which can be subscribed to here

CUF – the Co-operative University Forum – a dedicated ‘practical issues’ advisory group committed to helping  to support the development of a Co-operative University linked to the Co-operative College. CUF has run three webinars in the last 2 months and from now until summer 2018, will host three expert Roundtables consisting of  co-operators, academics, students and practitioners.

Roundtable discussions will contribute to a report and modelling (which will be consulted upon) and a business plan for the College’s Trustees. The first expert Roundtable on federated governance, will be held in May. CUF members and the Roundtable experts are working pro brono and we greatly appreciate their help and support.

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