Aug 31 2012 by Ian Russell, Kilmarnock Standard
A SECONDARY school is set to become the first Scottish School of Co-operation in a link-up with the Co-operative Society.
The honour goes to Loudoun Academy, which takes pupils from villages including Fenwick, which claims to have founded the first co-operative enterprise in the world in 1761 – the Fenwick Weavers.
Twelve Loudoun pupils will be the first in Scotland to gain a new SQA award in Co-operative Studies at Intermediate 2 level, on completion of a course launched in the academy this session.
Hugh Donnelly, Director of the Co-operative Education Trust Scotland (CETS) said: “I’m delighted that Loudoun Academy is piloting this entrepreneurial course. We hope subsequently to roll it out to other schools in Scotland.”
CETS aims to inspire co-operative enterprise by working with schools and producing learning resources – and pupils of the Galston school will be first to benefit.
As part of the process, Loudoun will create a young co-operative enterprise to help students develop skills for learning, life and work. They will also organise and hold a major event – yet to be decided – in the school, supported by the trust.
Pupils will have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of co-operative values and principles and will be assessed by a panel of experts.
The co-operative movement in Britain was established in 1844, when early pioneers came together to provide affordable services on a co-operative basis for members – but the Fenwick Weavers had done that over 80 years before.
Council leader Douglas Reid said: “This is not just an exercise in the classroom. These trailblazing pupils are developing skills for life and work in the real world by working together and taking active leads in school and community life.
“In East Ayrshire, we are ahead of the game, and Loudoun will set the standard for Scotland in this field.”
Hugh Donnelly added: “There is strong evidence that the origins of the global co-operative movement lie in Fenwick. In this, the UN International Year of Co-operatives, the timing couldn’t be better to kick-start a new era of co-operative development in Scotland.”