What difference does it make to be a co-operative school?
The South West Bristol Co-operative Learning Trust (SWBCLT) was set up in April 2010. We believe that belonging to the Learning Co-operative will create stronger schools and a stronger community spirit in South West Bristol.
Our vision as a Learning Co-operative is to help all children and young people in our schools to enjoy learning, be ambitious, raise their attainment and aspire to worthwhile careers and lives. Steered by our moral values and principles, we are finding new ways to work together and to engage with you, our local community.
Each Learning Co-operative school is proud to have its own identity and to reflect and belong to its own diverse local community. At the same time, our schools find strength and many opportunities in working together as a Learning Co-operative.
Our challenge and our strength lie in the fact that there is no definitive model for a Co-operative Learning Trust: each one has its own unique character and identity.
Across the country, over 800 schools have now converted to become either Co-operative Academies, such as Cotham School, or Co-operative Learning Trusts like us, many of them in the South West of England. As the structure of education rapidly changes in this country and increasing numbers of schools opt out of Local Authority ownership, we find ourselves with a model whereby we – the pupils, parents, staff – and you, the local community – own our school buildings and resources and hold them in trust for future generations. This model avoids the situation other schools may find themselves in, where ownership is taken on by an external and sometimes remote business partner whose ethics and values may not be at all in accord with their own.
“The South West Bristol Co- operative Learning Trust is greater than any one individual and it is growing to be sustainable in its own right.”
We all–quite literally in fact – hold these local schools in Trust, to protect, develop, strengthen and improve them into the future, for South Bristol children and young people present and yet to come. We hope you will support us in this work.