Growth plans on track as three more academies join

Growth plans on track as three more academies join

Co-op Academies Trust, which sees three new schools join today, is on course to achieve its ambition of operating up to 40 academies across the north of England by 2022.

Since the Co-op announced earlier this year that it was putting a further £3.6m into its academies programme to kick-start the next growth phase, six new academies, two secondary and four primary, have joined the trust bringing the number under its guidance to 18.

The latest schools to join are Co-op Academy Friarswood, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Co-op Academy Woodslee, Birkenhead, both primaries, and Co-op Academy Walkden, a secondary in Salford.

The Trust divides the academies, which are mainly in economically deprived areas, into three hubs: Greater Manchester; West Yorkshire and Merseyside and North Staffordshire.

The Co-op academies inspected by Ofsted in the past two years have received at least a  “good” rating, underlining the success the Trust has had in implementing ambitious turnaround plans for the predominantly weak schools it has adopted.

Frank Norris, Director of the Co-op Academies Trust said: “We look to help those communities that have the greatest educational challenges and need additional help to support their young people. The effect of a good school that was previously failing or weak is immense in regenerating communities and we have established a great track record of turning around schools, which were previously struggling.

“The Trust has demonstrated that co-operative values and principles, strong governance and the ability to leverage the support of the Co-op in areas such as brand, communications, HR, property, insurance and IT, can have a dramatic impact on school improvement.

“Co-op colleagues serve as school governors and provide mentoring and careers advice along with work placement support. A step change increase in the number of Trust academies will improve efficiency, provide better value for money, increase the scale and variety of school improvement services and enhance effectiveness for existing academies.”

The Co-op provides students with vocational opportunities such as work placements and several apprentices have been recruited to Co-op Insurance through the academies programme. It is estimated that 200-250 candidates will have joined the Co-op by 2022.