Jul 062011

Meeting of the members of Reddish Labour Party, held on Friday 24 June at Stockport Labour Club

Our most recent branch meeting was a very interesting one. Along with hearing from North and South Reddish Councillors, we were delighted to be joined by Phil Arnold who spoke with passion about his vision for radical local economic and social change through education in the establishment of Co-operative Academies in Reddish.

Phil works at Reddish Vale Technology College [RVTC] as their Director of College Improvement whose foundation is The Reddish Vale Co-operative Trust. It was the first of its kind in the UK and has led to the development of a new co-operative educational sector in the UK. The Trust is a member-led, co-operative charitable organisation and was established in 2008. Its aims are to “build bridges between education and training, employment and local regeneration”.

The Co-operative Trust does a lot of wonderful work in the local community and internationally and it was also Trust members who provided design work for recent community event ReddFest and support for the Great British Bike Ride in aid of St Elizabeth’s Church.

Phil challenged the Labour Group to actively support the development of this approach and give practical support to the delivery of its aims.

There followed a lively debate on the future of RVTC, the consultation for a change to a co-operative academy and the development of a Co-operative Free School. The model details are available from the RVTC website.

Councillor Paul Moss commented that he’d welcome closer ties between both RVTC and the trust with the likes of Reddish Business Forum and Reddish Buildings Preservation Trust in the future.

In other business, Andy Verdeille, Labour Group Leader for Stockport and South Reddish Councillor, gave his report including details of a forthcoming motion in the council on the future of Stockport County Football Club.

We were also joined by Denton & Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, who gave us his view of recent events and debates in Parliament.

Details of our July branch meeting will be sent out to our members soon.

FURTHER READING: Andrew Gwynne MP writes about Co-operative Schooling in ProgressOnline

Jun 192011

The next Reddish Labour Party branch meeting is on Friday 24 June 2011 at 7pm at Stockport Labour Club [2 Lloyd Street, Stockport SK4 1QP. Tel 0161 480 5190].

Following a lively debate at our last meeting, branch secretary Chris Hill has invited guest speaker Phil Arnold to further discuss the merits of  the Co-operative Free School model and its potential role in the future of education in Reddish.

Phil is the Director of College Improvement at Reddish Vale Technology College [RVTC] where he works to support children and young people, raising standards in attainment and achievement.

With the co-operative movement’s principles, ethics and values at its heart, Phil has developed a progressive approach to education with the launch of the UK’s first Co-operative Trust School. Over the last two years a national network of more than 130 co-operative trust schools has developed and the alternative ‘co-operative’ academy model has gained departmental approval.

Consultation is now in progress as to whether RVTC should adopt the Co-operative Free School model. Phil and his colleagues are now looking to extend this model to include co-operative studio schools and co-operative university technical colleges, each working towards mutual gain and the common good within Stockport.


Phil Arnold also holds the following positions:

Director of Reddish Leisure a community interest company which supported the development of Broadstone Mill’s Sports Trust’s site.

Director of Greater Manchester Co-operative ELP! which, is a new education and learning ‘community benefits co-operative’ partnership linking education to economic activity.

Director of Take Stock a new creative cooperative linking professional creatives to innovative programmes in the wider community.


 19 June 2011  Branch Meeting, NEWS 1 Response »