East Tilbury Infant School and East Tilbury Junior School have become academies. They joined St Clere’s School as equal partners in a Co-operative Academy Trust: the first multi-academy Co-operative Trust in the country. The Department for Education agreed that all three schools are high-performing and therefore meet the strict criteria which allow them to convert to academy status, a move that was supported by Thurrock Council.
This is the culmination of 10 years of collaboration and joint working, which has seen the schools develop consistent approaches to many areas, including behaviour, uniform, pupil voice and transition as well as making joint staff appointments. A commitment to the Co-operative values and a desire to continue to work in collaboration binds the schools together.
The Academy Trust is also a member of the national Schools Co-operative Society. The Schools Cooperative Society is the apex body of the 100s of independent Co-operative Schools and Educational Co-operatives across the UK that are transforming education. Its aim is to coordinate the network and provide advice, guidance and support to members.
The aim of the Co-operative multi-academy trust is to raise pupil standards, provide community access and engagement and operate within the Co-operative values.
Shelagh Cosgrow, headteacher, East Tilbury Infant School said: “This is a ground breaking development which demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the best possible future for the children in our schools. Through consolidating our collaborative work in this way, we are opening opportunities to all members of our local communities. Governors and staff embrace this landmark in education for the 21st century. All credit is due to our chairs of governors who have demonstrated commitment to our vision of a Co-operative multi-academy Trust.”
Paul Griffiths, headteacher of East Tilbury Junior School and St Clere’s School agreed: “The chair of governors of East Tilbury Junior School, Mr Ray Osborne, initiated our joint working over 10 years ago. It is a fantastic achievement that the three schools are operating in such a strong partnership for the benefit of all our pupils.”
Jo Olsson, Director of People Services for Thurrock, who has supported this development from the outset, said “This is a great example of the kind of radical and creative thinking that is a quietly understated reality in Thurrock; independent and community led, carefully nurtured over time by highly effective leaders to grow and flourish, and fully involving all stakeholders……a truly remarkable achievement”.
Thurrock Council’s Head of Learning and Universal Outcomes, Carmel Littleton, also commented “This kind of partnership between this multi-academy group of schools, the wider school system and the local authority can absolutely be held up as an example of excellence nationally.”