A new school of thought for the Spenborough Cooperative Trust

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A group of Spen schools want to revolutionise the way they interact with their communities.

The Spenborough Schools Cooperative Trust plans to get more involved with community projects, teaching skills not just to children, but adults as well.

Trust coordinator Dianne McConnell said the time is right for schools to rethink what they mean to their communities.

She said: “We want to change what role schools play.

“They need to act more like a hub that serves the people around them.

“If we do things such as teach people to grow food and cook healthy on a budget, for example, we can really improve the life chances of children who go to our schools too.”

Other plans for the trust include parenting classes and a Trust Parliament, where children can debate issues that matter to them.

Mrs McConnell also revealed long-term ambitions for the trust to open a community centre, where people can be helped to grow their own food, have free access to the internet and get help looking for work.

“We want to eventually open some sort of hub in the area,” she said.

“But we have no concrete plans in place just yet, as it is early days.

“I have spoken to parents from areas around the school – and they are interested in what we are doing.

“We are starting small but if it is what people want and we can show people how to do it, then we will continue. This could change the way schools work.”

The trust has been running since April 2012, and is a conglomeration of six primary schools around Heckmondwike and Liversedge, as well as Spen Valley High School. The trust has put on numerous community events, and is used as a base for each school to share ideas.

Mrs McConnell added: “This is an exciting time for the schools in our trust and we are looking forward to seeing it develop and grow over the coming years.”