At the same time schools in the Samuel Whitbread Community College pyramid became the first Co-operative Multi-School Trust — the Bedfordshire East Schools Trust (BEST).
The co-op structure will give everyone in these communities an opportunity to be involved in the running of the school.
Anyone with an interest in the school including students, teachers, parents, employers and neighbours will be encouraged to become Trust members.
Then they will be able to elect representatives to a school forum, which will meet regularly in order to ensure that those in positions of responsibility remain sensitive to the needs, views and aspirations of the different groups.
The forum will be responsible for helping to develop the ethos of the school whilst providing support and a sounding board for the governors, as well as building links between the Trust and the local community.
Co-operative College Principal Mervyn Wilson, who has been working with local authorities and schools to establish co-operative trusts around the country, believes many more schools will adopt Co-operative Trust status.
He said: “It is clear from the response we are getting from both education authorities and schools up and down the country that they appreciate the advantages the co-operative model can offer and that is why more than one school a week is embarking on the process.”