Glasgow Update

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Glasgow is the latest city to embrace a co-operative culture as the launch of the Scottish Schools of Co-operation was launched at Eastbank Primary. Attending schools were treated to pupils explaining all about their Co-operative values and Principles work in practice (picture below) as well as a helpful pack containing lesson plans, homework and assembly ideas.

eastbank primary

Edinburgh Update

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As a follow on to Edinburgh Council’s Co-operative Capital initiative,  schools who had successfully completed level 1 and 2 Scottish School of Co-operation Charter Mark were invited to receive their plaques at an event at the City Chambers. Paul Godzik (pictured) congratulated all the young people on their successful applications and the hard work they had been involved in to achieve this.


New Enterprise Website

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CETS worked in partnership with a number of other organisations to help develop the Scottish Government’s new website, launched by Angela Constance at the Scottish learning Festival, it encourages enterprising approaches within the Scottish Curriculum. Click on Scotland’s Enterprising Schools  to find out how co-ops play an important role in Scotland’s economy and how schools are helping to drive this agenda.

Austerity: Who needs it and why don’t we focus on collecting all our tax liabilities?

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Sponsored by the Scottish Co-operative Party – the inaugural Scottish Co-operators Lecture.

An increasing number of commentators, including Will Hutton, are calling for corporations to be legally required to behave more ethically – to act in the best interests of a wider collection of stakeholders and to be accountable to them.

The Co-operative Movement has argued this case for centuries and continue to press the case for more diversity of ownership across the economy and especially in financial services.

Prof Prem Sikka (Essex Business School) has been a consistent advocate of more mutual and community focussed financial services such as credit unions. He has also frequently made the point that if more of our big businesses acted like responsible citizens and carried their fair share of the tax burden then there would be no economic argument for austerity. Prof Sikka will be expanding on these themes in Glasgow on Saturday 18th April 2015 @ 12.00pm.

If you would like to participate in this critical discussion, register at Attendance is free but limited and places will be allocated on a first come basis.

McCance Lecture Theatre
University of Strathclyde
16 Richmond Street
G1 1XQ
Saturday 18th April 2015 @ 12.00pm

The Spirit of Co-operation – Livingston Lecture

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Hugh will be speaking at an interesting (and free) event this Thursday 01 May 2014:


The Spirit of Co-operation

West Lothian College
Thursday 1 May 2014
Registration: 6.00pm
Starts: 6.30pm – 8.00pm

Hear from industry experts the case for employee ownership of enterprise. Scotland has a rich tradition in this field, both in terms of practice and research, and this event will allow local businesses and individuals to explore the potential of employee ownership in West Lothian and further afield.


Opportunity to Join the Co-op Movement

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An exciting opportunity has arisen for a recent graduate to join the co-op movement. Scotland’s agricultural co-op representative organisation, SAOS, and the University of Aberdeen have created a project focusing on the feasibility of establishing  a new financial intermediary, to be owned and governed by Scotland’s farming community. As a result, they are seeking an individual to manage all aspects of the project, which is funded by a government graduate scheme. CETS and the University of Aberdeen have previously delivered a similar project through the same Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme.

Further details can be found here:

Communicating the Co-op Values

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A group of Eastbank Primary pupils, in Glasgow, have agreed to help spread the co-operative message about how important values are in who you are and what you do!

CETS have employed them after hearing all about how giving “values” a personality and purpose have helped give “power to the pupil” in monitoring and modifying their own behavior.  When asked why they thought this programme had worked, the first answer was, “because it was fun”! The “fun” is in pupils exploring for themselves what theses values mean and where they see them in not just their everyday lives, but also in art drama, RME and storytelling, then sharing this new-found knowledge with others.

Click here to see what the character values look like – I particularly like Rebecca Responsibility”

Eastbank pupils have kindly agreed to look at the co-op values ( link to V and P page)  in the same way and come up with a toolkit for schools, to help them understand where to look for and find the co-op values anywhere from the Gorbals to Ghana! The toolkit will  possibly also help pupils understand what it means to be a co-operative and also how to use these values in setting up their own co-op.

We are at the start of a very exciting project, so keep checking to see how it is doing!

Scottish School of Co-operation

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Cardinal Newman High in Bellshill became our latest Scottish School of Co-operation.  The school were presented with their award by the Provost of North Lanarkshire, Jimmy Robertson, at an event in the school last week.  The Provost noted the area’s co-op connections, both current and historical.  The new co-op food distribution centre is a 5 minute drive from the school and Scotmid have had a presence since the 19th century through the old Dalziell Co-op.

Cardinal Newman are certainly not going for half measures as regards their SSC status.  They are working with Scotwest to create a credit union and organising at least another 2 young co-op enterprises.

There were 10 co-operative businesses (Co-operative Group Food, Pharmacy, Funeralcare and Membership, Scotmid, Green City, Media Co-op, Scotwest, West Whitlawburn Housing Co-op and Clansman Dynamics) supporting a speed networking event.  In particular, the 40 pupils starting out on their SQA Awards in Co-operative Studies were able to extract valuable information on how co-op businesses function and what makes them different from other types of enterprise.  They also learned the role played in the creation of the original James Bond character – Sean Connery having spent his initial years in employment with Scotmid.

We are hopeful that this event might prove to be the catalyst for developing SSC across North Lanarkshire.  The council has made a significant investment in developing co-operative teaching, so it would seem logical to want to teach about co-ops as part of that exercise.  The significant employer engagement and the use of co-ops as the context for cross curricular learning and teaching was also noted by senior educators.

The Co-operative Option in Education Conference

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The Co-operative Option in Education: Can we still measure what we value once the lunatics have taken over the asylum?

“Change in Scottish education has tended to focus on reforming the curriculum and assessment systems but has tended to ignore school governance…………there has been no change in overall governance arrangements for almost 100 years.”

Our society has changed drastically over the past century, yet some would argue, our schools are still organised the way factories were set up in Victorian times.  If we need to modernise what are the options and what does the co-operative model have to offer Co-operative academies have been supported in England to tackle inner city under performance.  Co-operative trust schools (in existence before the concept of “Free Schools”) have offered a democratic alternative to the marketization process in England.

The Co-operative Education Trust Scotland was established to work with the existing structures rather than create new ones and there has been no demand in Scotland for opting out. The “Owenstown” co-operative town proposal offers a blank canvas in terms of co-operative innovation in education

Those who believe in co-operative values and principles and that the co-operative model of enterprise is a viable alternative will present several options.

Register for the event at:

Speakers include:

Keir Bloomer – The Commission on School Reform

–           will address the governance issues highlighted in their Final Report.


Cllr Stephen Curran – Glasgow  City Council    

–          will explain the move towards becoming a Co-operative Council and how education will underpin that development and how that can be linked to The Scottish School of Co-operation offering from CETS.


Jim Arnold – Owenstown    

–          will share his vision for education within the new Lanarkshire co-operative town


Dave Boston – The Schools Co-operative Society     

–          will explain how co-operative trust schools have grown in England


Collaboration Prize – pair up to pitch big

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Collaborating with other businesses can help you reach new markets, share resources and improve creative thinking.

Co-operative Development Scotland’s Collaboration Prize aims to encourage companies to work together and will this year be making £40,000 available for new collaborative projects.

Open to all Scotland-based companies with a collaborative idea, the competition welcomes proposals around:

  • Collaboration to gain scale in selling/buying
  • Collaboration to share resources, premises or equipment
  • Collaboration to enter new markets

Four winners will be chosen by a judging panel and will receive £5,000 cash to implement their idea as well as up to £5,000 of consultancy and additional support to set up the consortium.

The deadline for applications is Saturday 3 August, and workshops will be held through June and July for businesses to find out more.

The competition will be delivered in association with Creative Scotland, Scotland Food & Drink and the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

For further information or to apply, visit:

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