As is only proper, when you recall where the Rochdale Pioneers came from, the north has opened the country’s first co-operative converter academy school.
The sonorous title is being used for the first time by Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, a comprehensive which serves the sort of well-defined community where such educational models ought to thrive.
It does. A specialist sports college but with a bunch of other achievements, it was judged ‘outstanding’ in a report from 2008 by Ofsted, which also gave the same accolade to its VIth form separately. Outstanding schools are not inspected regularly unless concerns are raised, and an interim check by Ofsted this year confirmed the honour.
The co-op model for getting academy status, and the possible funding, flexibility et al that goes therewith, is only on offer to schools with a strong Ofsted record like this. The model has been developed as an alternative to ‘sponsor’ academies by the Co-operative College and solicitors Cobbetts.