A lesson from co-operative schools

After the whirlwind of the past month, I’m just now reviewing my notes from the Co-operative Education in Wales event run by the IWA on 28th June. In particular I wrote down this quote from the fantastic Dave Bolton, Chief Executive of the Schools Co-operative Society, talking about the co-operative, participative way of running a school:

“People say, ‘good schools do it anyway’. And it’s true, but with the co-operative model you say what you’re going to do, and then you do it. And then you can pass on the model.”

The parallel with co-production stood out for me. Many organisations and groups are already “doing co-production”, and have done for years, often without necessarily calling it ‘co-production’ – it can be the natural way of operating when you are working closely with people. But the point is that having a co-production framework means that it can be adopted by a whole range of other organisations that might originally had different ways of operating.

And this is what is important: to build a model, to learn from it, and to pass on those learnings.

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About noreencopro

Used to work on Co-production Wales, now somewhere else. Direct any queries to Ruth Dineen on coproductionwales [at] gmail [dot] com.

3 thoughts on “A lesson from co-operative schools

  1. “to build a model…” Yes! And in doing so it’s got to be helpful to understand the inherent systemic flaws in the existing capitalist model, which have forced us into co-producing alternatives. In an insightful article on financial totalitarianism published recently Max Haiven says:

    “…it is capitalism itself which is the problem…It is a system fundamentally based on transforming human cooperation into an unequal, individualist and competitive struggle of all against all.” http://bit.ly/FinTotal

    So here we are, working for change within a totalitarian system (even if we tell ourselves we’re outside the system!).

    Red pills anyone?!

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  2. Or to put it another way, here we are working for co-operation within a system that rewards competition…with all the challenges that presents, and with no alternative but to go forth and build!

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  3. Indeed! But, like Margaret Wheatley says (I’ve only just started the book mind you) we have to walk the corridors of power and work to change the system from the inside 🙂

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