Last Friday, I was delighted to have the opportunity to visit the Cressex Community School. In recent weeks, it has created local history by becoming the first state-maintained Trust School in Buckinghamshire and one of the first Cooperative Trust schools in England.
Co-operatives have a fundamental role in creating a supply-side revolution in the education system. For far too long we have been told by government what we should want and how we should receive it. Those days are thankfully over.
We want parents and pupils to have a greater say in how schools are run, as David Cameron explains in the video below:
What better way to give parents direct involvement in their children’s school than to give them effectively direct ownership of them?
This goal has been carried forward in the Coalition Agreement:
The Government believes that the innovation and enthusiasm of civil society is essential in tackling the social, economic and political challenges that the UK faces today… We will support the creation and expansion of mutuals, co-operatives, charities and social enterprises, and enable these groups to have much greater involvement in the running of public services.
The example of Cressex and its new partners — Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Wycombe Abbey School, The Cooperative College, Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire New University — should be congratulated and actively supported.
I feel this underlines the bond and unity Wycombe has with all its education providers – from primary all the way up to higher education.