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.