Ashton Vale Primary School is part of the South West Bristol Co- operative Learning Trust.
This Learning Co-operative was set up in April 2010 and there are nine partners altogether. We are:
Ashton Vale Primary School , Luckwell Primary School, Compass Point: South Street School and Children’s Centre, Ashton Park School, Bristol City Council , Bristol Sport, The University of the West of England, Co-operative Group and The Tobacco Factory.
Our vision as a Trust is to help all children and young people in our schools to enjoy learning, be ambitious, raise their attainment and aspire to worthwhile careers and lives. Steered by our moral values and principles, we are finding new ways to work together and to engage with you, our local community. We believe that all this work will create stronger schools and a stronger community spirit in South West Bristol.
Each Trust school is proud to have its own identity and to reflect and belong to its own diverse local community. At the same time, our schools find strength and many opportunities in working together as a Trust.
Our Trust is based on the values and principles of the Co- operative movement – equality, democracy, fairness, self- responsibility – and these are all practised within our schools and reflected in our governance, curriculum, pedagogy, projects, community activities, continued professional development and in our ethos itself.
You will have heard of other specialist school models such as those based on Sport, Business Enterprise, Performing Arts and Science. These models are all easily identifiable in terms of resources, activities and targets. You know what to expect from them. Our challenge and our strength lie in the fact that there is no definitive model for a Co-operative Learning Trust: each one has its own unique character and identity. At this stage in Ashton Vale School’s journey, our identity is being shaped by our commitment to our school community, to the other schools in the Trust and to the wider community in which we sit.
We are not alone in our journey. Across the country, over 200 schools have now converted to become either Co-operative Academies, such as Cotham School, or Co-operative Learning Trusts like us, many of them in the South West of England. As the structure of education rapidly changes in this country and increasing numbers of schools opt out of Local Authority ownership, we find ourselves with a model whereby we – the pupils, parents, staff – and you, the local community – own our school buildings and resources and hold them in trust for future generations. We have even set up a Community Forum: a regular meeting where representatives from all of these groups can come together to help improve learning and life for young people, in and out of school; and where we can help schools and the wider community work together more, for the benefit of us all. This model avoids the situation other schools may find themselves in, where ownership is taken on by an external and sometimes remote business partner whose ethics and values may not be at all in accord with their own.
So what have we done so far? Here’s a selection:
STAFF: staff from all Trust schools came together for a Common Professional Development Day, covering education for children from 4 to 19 years of age. We’ll keep doing this. It gives teaching and administrative staff a chance to share knowledge and training with each other. We’re also sharing our resources and expertise across all schools. For example, in ICT, attendance, data management, uniform. Staff also meet regularly in year groups and subject areas to share good practice and support each other.
PARENTS: Trust school PTA’s – Parent Teacher Associations – are increasingly working together for children.
PUPILS: Some Year 9 students from Ashton Park School have been going in to the primary schools as literacy mentors to help children improve their reading. Three Arts Apprentices in Year 11 will also lead a Co-operative Arts Project to develop The Arts across all Trust schools during the next year. Student voice is real and active in all our schools. Choirs from each of the primary schools worked together on a joint project 'Handfuls of Harmony' involving children and adults presenting a terrific evening of music at St. Paul's Church. Key Stage One children shared a morning of song, coming together to share songs from around the world. Our Reception children recorded themselves retelling their favourite story and shared this with other Reception children within the Trust.
TRUST PARTNERS AND COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS: Our schools are all working together with The Tobacco Factory and our partner Bristol City Football Club to create exciting opportunities to develop literacy skills and to improve the important transition from Primary to Secondary school. Professors at UWE – another partner of ours – have been supporting us with research to help improve teaching and learning.
COMMUNITY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES: We supported Lazy Sunday in Greville Smyth Park on September 16th: FrOGS, the park group, put on music and a café, and the Trust provided some activities and stalls to go with it. The Trust recently held their first Quiz Night in the local community; it was a roaring success and thoroughly enjoyed by all! Lantern Parade - Children in Reception and Year 3 have worked on lanterns for the BS3 Lantern Parade for the past two years. This year children from Reception and Year 2 will work on the Lantern project, we look forward to seeing what theme they will choose! We are supported by local art and community groups and work together with local schools and groups to make lanterns and parade them around Bedminster.
There is much to build upon and develop and much to be excited about there! As our work gathers momentum, we know we need to put proper time and resources into doing it properly. Ashton Park School has identified some funds for this and in true Trust spirit these will be available to all Trust schools to drive forward collaboration.
Finally, many people have been and will be important within this journey, but we must remember that the South West Bristol Co- operative Learning Trust is greater than any one individual and that it is growing to be sustainable in its own right. We all–quite literally in fact – hold these local schools in Trust, to protect, develop, strengthen and improve them into the future, for South Bristol children and young people present and yet to come. We hope you will support us in this work.
Becoming a member We would like everyone who is involved within the trust to become a member. If you would like to become a member of The Learning Co-operative Trust, please download the form from the link below and return the completed form to the school office. Please click here to download the form
What Ofsted Has Said
"Pupils make good progress in reading, writing and mathematics and standards are now well above average.
The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding. All aspects of safe practice are excellently monitored.
Diversity and equality of opportunity are central to the school’s aims and are evident in pupils’ work as well as in their highly positive relationships. Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated."