“What we want and seek to obtain is a co-operative journey that will end in a co-operative university.” (Rae, 1909)

A long sought after dream of the co-operative movement, the current journey towards a Co-operative University began in 2012 when we commissioned a report to explore the barriers to, and the enablers of such a university.

Legislation change

The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 removed some of the barriers for alternative providers and we subsequently committed to seeking university status.

We are aiming to have provisional Degree Awarding Powers by the end of 2020 – delivering not only the programmes outlined on this website, but also accrediting and awarding qualifications delivered by our higher education co-operative partners. 

As you might expect, the global pandemic has impacted our plans too. You can read more about this here.

Working together

Many co-operative educators, academics, students and practitioners have worked with us to share ideas and shape the future Co-operative University.

We are characterised by deeply democratic structures, based on full student and member participation, equality and decent work.

The Co-operative University will be governed by a democratically elected board with staff and student representation. All staff and students will be members of the university with full voting rights at the AGM.

Our Higher Education partners

Throughout this development period, we have been working closely with a diverse range of higher education co-operatives who all share the belief in a new type of university. Together we have recently formed the Co-operative University Federation Steering Group to take forward the vision and plans for this collective project. Take a look at just some of them below. 

Feral Art School Feral Art School Logo

Red Learning


Red Learning Co-operative Logo
The Centre for Human Ecology Centre for Human Ecology Logo
Preston Co‑operative Development Network The Preston Co-operative Development Network logo
Leicester Vaughan College Leicester Vaughan Logo
 East Marsh United
New School of the Anthropocene
New School of the Anthropocene logo

Interested in studying or teaching with us? Could you sponsor a student to give them a fantastic opportunity that otherwise seems impossible for them? See below for further details of how to get involved.

Be part of something extraordinary