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.


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?!


  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!


  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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