The Park Community Co-operative Learning Trust

The Park Community School has served its local community for over 100 years. In 1910 it opened as two grammar schools, one for boys and one for girls, in what we now call our South Building. It was Devon County Council’s first secondary school. In 1940 the boys moved into a separate new school on our site, now known as North Building. In 1964 it became a co-educational mixed grammar school under one headteacher and an 11-16 comprehensive school – The Park School – in 1972. Following 62 years as a selective school it became a school to educate all young people in its locality. However, hardly had it celebrated its centenary when national policy began to dismantle the Local Authorities and hence the relationship with Devon County Council was required to change.
The Governing Body reviewed the developing situation and determined to pursue the path to becoming a foundation school and at the same time acquiring a charitable trust – The Park Community Co-operative Learning Trust.

Why a Co-operative Trust School?

The imperative for all schools is to raise standards and to find new and effective routes and strategies to build and sustain improvement. We decided to capitalise upon the Local Authority’s long experience and expertise by inviting it to remain with us, not now in charge, but as a partner within our new Trust. This blended well with the vision of continuing that rich heritage of continuing to serve all in our local community by following the co-operative values and principles of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Building our future on the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others aligns very well with the ethos and aims of this school.
A school is a community of individuals, principally its pupils, who seek to care for and educate to the highest possible standards. We aim to achieve and sustain this in a manner that recognises individual differences, needs, aspirations and potential whilst working together for the good of all. The Co-operative Trust approach, therefore, feels the most appropriate way forward to secure all that we work hard to achieve for our pupils: all in the community drawn together in common purpose to create and develop something really special.

What does this all mean, therefore?

The Trust is made up of a group of people – the Headteacher, Chair of the Governing Body, a representative of both Devon County Council and the Co-operative Movement plus two other school governors (called Foundation Governors) - to seek strength and expertise to help and support the Governing Body in discharging its responsibilities as effectively as possible.
As Local Authorities diminish, Co-operative networks are developing to link schools across Devon (with around one-third of its secondary schools involved), more widely across the South West of England, the whole country and internationally, all co-operating and working together to help each other.

What will be the Trust’s particular focus?

  • Accelerating and sustaining the progress towards higher attainment and achievement, narrowing the gap between local and national attainment and further raising aspirations across all of the learning community we serve.
  • Improving the life chances of every child in the Trust area by developing sustainable, successful partnerships throughout the Trust (and its associated local schools) in a wide range of carefully designed social and educational activities that are tailored to further raise aspirations and make meaningful contributions to the development of every individual child
  • Increasing sustainable community involvement by working closely and ethically with our partners to provide an improved level of support for all families which in turn enables our children to play a full part in developing activities within the community. By drawing together coherent, sustainable and equitably shared development we will utilise all the many aspects of the community to the advantage of all.

Others may decide to join with us and we are to establish a ‘Stakeholders’ Forum’ to encourage all in the community from pupils, staff, parents, employers, our neighbours and friends to become involved and have their voices heard. By all joining together in this common endeavour we seek to set The Park Community School on the next phase of its development as a neighbourhood school fully at the heart of its community, which expects and achieves the highest of standards for each individual pupil.
Whatever the future may hold, we are determined to offer the very best possible for each of our young people and for everyone in our community.

I hope that you will join with us.

Please check on this site for news of developments and progress over the months ahead.
My thanks.

Gareth Roscoe, Headteacher