Joining our Co-operative

Mariposa Primary School is a co-operative. This means that we are owned and run by those who have a stake in our success.

There are four different ‘constituencies’ of members of our co-operative:

  • Children
  • Parents/carers
  • Staff
  • The wider community

In due course, we will introduce a fifth constituency, Alumni, because we’d love to keep in touch with past pupils and staff.

As each group join our school, they will be given the opportunity to formally join the co-operative.

We will set the criteria for community membership separately and open this constituency in April – it is likely to include partner organisations, volunteers and our immediate geographic community.

How does a co-operative school run?

We are joining a family of over 1000 other co-operative schools across the country, although we think we’re only the second free school to choose this model.

Legally, our members can vote for Governors to represent them, and can hold the Governing Body to account at our Annual General Meeting. It is here that any changes to the vision, ethos or values of the school will need to be approved, along with our audited accounts. The Governing Body carry most of the legal responsibilities and are the ones who report to the Government.

There is also a cultural aspect to the co-operative. We are not owned by Government or by a separate organisation, we are owned by our members. If something needs changing or improving, our members make it happen. We don’t sit around complaining, we get on and sort problems out. Ourselves. And because all our members have strong ties to the school, they really care about getting it right.

This can-do attitude, the confidence and belief in your ability to make a positive difference is one of the fundamental parts of our vision for our children. It is why they are a valued part of every level of the school, even sending a representative to the Governing Body.

If you’d like to understand more about how a co-operative model works in the context of free schools, read this blog.

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