Updated Summer Update

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Author: Hugh

Traditionally it is a quiet time for us here at CETS but that hasn’t stopped me taking the easy option of combining my turn to blog with a newsletter for general consumption. 

CETS NEWS – JULY 2011

Young Co-operative Enterprise

 There are two major strands of our efforts in this field which will take major strides forward when the Scottish schools return in August.

ASDAN Awards through Co-operative Studies 

Supported by the Co-operative Group Scottish Values and Principles Committee, we will be working with several secondary schools (Loudoun Academy, Alva Academy, Jedburgh Grammar, Broxburn Academy, Armadale Academy, Whitburn Academy and All Saints Secondary) to ensure that nearly 200 Scottish pupils will achieve ASDAN Enterprise and/or COPE accreditation through Co-operative Studies.  This will be a major advance in our primary objective of imbedding co-operative values and principles into the Scottish education system.

Young Co-operatives

We have often highlighted the excellent work done by longstanding Young Co-ops at Hillpark and Stonelaw and we are hoping to see a new wave as we engage with Govan High, Hillhead Secondary and Whitehills Primary (Forfar) to develop their co-operative business models.

We also had a highly successful 2 day Co-operative Enterprise Awareness Session at St Paul’s Dundee where 40 pupils investigated the potential for creating Young Co-ops.  This event was run in conjunction with Dynamix, the Bristol based worker co-op.

SQA Qualifications

As stated above, our main objective is to imbed co-operative values and principles and the co-operative model of enterprise into the Scottish education system.  The ongoing implementation of Curriculum for Excellence is starting to offer opportunities in this field.  We instigated discussions with the SQA over a year ago and it now seems that our message is getting through, that co-operatives as a context for learning are an effective way to achieve the outcomes laid down with Curriculum for Excellence. 

The SQA have themselves proposed the creation of an award in Fair Trade/Ethical trading which will sit nicely alongside our proposed award in Co-operative Studies, again supported by CG Scottish Membership V & P.  We are also awaiting a response from the Education Minister on his proposal for a new award in Scottish Studies and our suggestion that Co-operative Studies should be an integral part of any such award.

Hopscotch Theatre

Hopscotch has been involved in some excellent pieces of drama aimed at raising awareness amongst young people about the democratic system and trade justice.  We are currently working with them to take to our ASDAN schools (as above) a drama workshop which will introduce them to the concept of democratically owned and controlled businesses.

Summer Events

Working with CG Membership we have agreed to sponsor (through the Cammanachd Association) the supply of three “First Shinty” kits for use in primary and secondary schools throughout the City of Aberdeen.  The kits will be handed over at half time in the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup Final at Aberdeen University’s King’s Fields on Saturday 30th July 2011.

Again, we will be hosting a short workshop on co-ops at the Belladrum Festival, alongside the “Verb Garden” when the Co-operative Group Scotland & NI Board will be joining the festivities.

Scotmid are hosting an Enterprising Practitioners event in August at Hillwood House.  This group of schools enterprise development officers came together under Determined to Succeed but not have to look at those co-operative virtues of self help and self sufficiency if they are to continue functioning.  The Scotmid session will be used to explore a co-operative model as well as further progressing their knowledge and understanding of co-operative enterprise.

They will also be able to hear how co-operative business engagement is enabling pupils at Craigmount High to work towards Intermediate Retailing Awards with support from Stevenson College, Scotmid and CETS.

Learning and Teaching Resources   

In our 2009/11 funding application to CG Social Goals, we forecast we would get over 1500 of our various resource packs into 750 schools.  With over 6 months still to run, we have surpassed those targets by at least 10%.

We are now working on a new “Co-operative Food Chain” resource with financial and technical support from SAOS.  There are many existing resources out there and it has been noted that the majority of co-operative activity in the UK still centres on food in some shape or form.

 This will be an online option which highlights the co-operative option at every stage of the cycle – food production, food retail and distribution and through to food waste and re-cycling/renewable energy.  This resource will be launched early in the next school year.

Year of the Co-operative 2012

 The aforementioned support from CG Scottish Values & Principles is intended to culminate with the launch of the new SQA Awards and the graduation of the 200 ASDAN Young Co-operators.  It will obviously be our intention to showcase these at a major event in 2012.  Once we are clear of the overall Scottish programme of events we will announce more detail.  It would be our intention to aim for June 2012.

Some of you might have noticed that we are engaging with schools (Govan and Loudoun, including Fenwick Primary) which can lay claim to pre-Rochdale co-ops within their catchment areas.  We have also approached schools in Brechin (1832) and Lennoxtown (1812) to see if we can develop a co-operative co-op history project, highlighting the Scottish contribution to the global phenomenon that is the International Co-operative Economy being celebrated by the UN. (A point we made in our communication to the Scottish Education Minister).  Watch this space!

Higher Education

 We are now at the halfway point in our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Aberdeen and the first learning and teaching resources should be available for the new university academic year.  This work has resulted in a grouping of co-operative academics working together and after an initial CETS presentation to the UK Society for Co-operative Studies Annual Conference 2010, there was a fringe meeting at Congress to progress the idea of a Co-operative University and Business School.

The Mondragon co-ops in the Basque Country already have their own university and CETS, with support from CDS, will be sending 3 students from the Scottish Agricultural College over on a study tour in early October.  The students won the CETS/CDS essay competition with a business plan for a farm forestry co-op.

CETS Competition Winners!

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 Author: Morag

This week I am not “ranting” but “raving”! (well, ok, maybe a wee rant towards the end!)

We were delighted to receive so many excellent entries for our competition and it is good to know that so many young people are now aware of and looking to set up a business, using the co-operative model. The competition challenge was to write a business plan showing how they could set up and run a successful Young Co-op in their school and community. In true democratic fashion, we had allocated 3 equal prizes of £500 and congratulations must go to the 3 worthy winners of our competition who are:

They will each receive £500 to develop their co-operative, Well done!

I had the pleasure of visiting Whitehills Primary last week to deliver their prize and have a chat with the talented pupils in P7. I was impressed with the knowledge and understanding they had on a variety of topics relating to the setting up and running of their Fairtrade café. The level of enthusiasm and commitment to this “real” project confirmed, for me, that Curriculum for Excellence, when translated into a inter disciplinary project such as this, has a positive impact on learning.

The pupils who have been involved with the cafe will be moving on to the high school after the summer. However, their legacy of the ground -work in setting up this project will be continued by the current P6.  The P7’s have committed to “training” the P6 class in how to run their business and most, when asked, would happily volunteer to come back and help them even after they have moved on to the High School!

Now that the school has had the boost of an additional £500, they are planning to expand the project into growing food in their own garden to sell in their café!  This will perhaps lead to forming more community links with the local farmers market and offering different products in their cafe. The possibilities for linking all of this to the curriculum across all stages in the school are endless.

I will at this point out another great TED talk  which I believe would endorse this type of learning. He is promoting the concept that learning is organic and not linear and that we need a revolution in education, not just a change, to enable our young people to feel that they can happily and effectively contribute to society.

If schools across Scotland can use this seed of their idea to spread and grow this type of project, then I think they will, like many other primary schools, be embracing organic rather than linear learning. Ultimately, the youngsters in our schools now will be the educators of the future and will no doubt wonder why it took us so long to see the light!

Perhaps the revolution is already underway in Scotland’s primaries? Although I haven’t visited Hillhead and Govan myself, judging by feedback from our director, they are  two of the secondaries schools leading the way in implementing Curriculum for Excellence but the process in secondary sector is, for a number of reasons, much slower. However, if the young people moving into secondary now, help to spread the revolution more widely to the secondary sector in the coming years, this may help speed up the process? But only if we empower our students as we have promised!

Schools Co-op Enterprise Competition

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This is a competition offered to young people in all of Scotland’s schools. We are looking for them to come up with a good idea and a business plan which involves setting up and running a Young Co-op within their school. Ideally we would like to see all stages of the school involved, but we are open to all proposals.

First and foremost we want to see a viable business proposition which must be run on a democratic basis and in line with co-operative values and principles. We would also favour business ideas in the area of renewable energy, ethical trading or ones that provide much needed products or services for your local community.

Full details in this pdf

Co-op Enterprise