the co-operative difference

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A shortened version of our Vision and Service Delivery Plan 2012-13


  • 20 y

    ears of co-ope



    The co-operative difference

  • Based in Herefordshire and operating across the rural West Midlands and Welsh Border regions, the Robert Owen Group is a co-operative organisation. We are underpinned in all that we do by our co-operative ethos and we have three core elements to our work education, training and regeneration.

    As a co-operative, we are member owned. Our membership consists of schools, colleges, nurseries, higher education institutions and community groups, all with the common interest of working together to make a difference.

    The Robert Owen Group is made up of a number of member organisations including the Robert Owen Foundation, the Robert Owen Society, the Marches Consortium and the Robert Owen Business, Innovation and Enterprise Society.


    he Members Council

    OUR VISIONAchieving improvement in education and life experiences through co-operation within our learning communities


    To promote and advance good practice and co-operation in education through active partnership and effective leadership


    To deliver high quality and cost effective education, training and collaborative programmes.

    To promote excellence and an understanding of the rights and responsibilities for the benefit of children, young people, parents, trainee teachers, teachers, staff and local communities.

    To enable all involved with the organisation to contribute to its effectiveness and success

    To ensure the organisation secures alternative income streams

    Teacher TrainingWeve been training graduates to become teachers for over 14 years, in close partnership with our member schools and colleges. Growing from training just 25 trainee teachers in 1997, we are now the largest teacher training provider of our kind in the country. Many of our trainees are now employed as Headteachers, Deputy Headteachers and Heads of Department.

    Together with our schools we have trained over 3,500 teachers.

  • Our co-operative differenceA co-operative is a group of people acting together to meet the common needs and aspirations of its members, sharing ownership and making decisions democratically. Co-operatives are not about making big profits for shareholders, but creating value for customers. This is what gives co-operatives a unique character, and influences our values and principles. As a co-operative organisation we subscribe to the co-operative values and principles. We are at all times a values led Group of co-operative businesses.

    We are guided by the Co-operative Movements values and principles:

    Co-operative Values: Self-help; self-responsibility; democracy; equality; equity and solidarity.

    Ethical Values:Honesty; openness; social responsibility; caring for others.

    Co-operative principles: Voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; co-operation amongst co-operatives; concern for community.

    Celebrating 20 years: 1992-2012During our 20 year history we have helped and supported local communities in the Welsh Marches with training, education and rural regeneration activities.

    From teacher training to developing sustainable communities, to vocational education, weve been at the heart of the education and co-operative community in the region

    Co-operation, education, training and regeneration have remained at the very core of all that we have done during our history.

    The PioneersOur 20th anniversary in 2012 saw us reflect back on our origins and history. We honoured the Pioneer Herefordshire Headteachers who back in 1992 formed the Marches Consortium, the founding organisation of the Robert Owen Group, and shared with them what their ideas and vision have grown to become.

    The Members Council is the key forum for

    our members to engage with the Robert Owen Group. The Members Council discusses the work of the

    Robert Owen Group, new business ideas and contributes to the models of delivery

    we operate.

    The Council is normally held about four times during the academic

    year and is open for any member to join.


    he Members Council

    Vice PresidencyIn 2012 we awarded our third Vice-Presidency to Bill Wiggin MP. The Vice-Presidency is awarded to those prepared to go that extra mile to support our co-operative communities along the Welsh Border and who have demonstrated a commitment to Co-operative Values and Principles.

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    QualityThe Robert Owen Group is committed to ensuring quality in all that we do.

    During 2012 we were certified with the international quality kite mark of ISO9001:2008. The Group was certified after undergoing a rigorous assessment process by the British Assessment Bureau. The kite mark certifies organisations that have met and assure a high standard of quality in their business. We are also working towards PQASSO certification, a quality kite mark for the third sector.

    Our Quality Management System provides the framework for us to drive continuous improvement in the planning, management and delivery of our services.

    Ofsted Inspection of Initial Teacher Training 2012Our Ofsted Inspection during 2012 highlighted the good pastoral and welfare support we offer trainee teachers and the quality of support offered by school based mentors as particular key strengths of our Initial Teacher Training programmes.

    Value for

    money is a core

    principle and as a

    small, flexible and highly

    responsive group we can

    effectively respond to

    change and need.


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    In 2012 the Robert Owen Groups bid to establish the Robert Owen Vocational School was approved. The School is a 14-19 Co-operative School serving the sub-region, offering high quality, innovative vocational education, and will open in September 2013.

    Our students will become people who can do things as well as know about them...

    The Robert Owen Vocational School is one of the most exciting opportunities for parents and their children that this area has seen. The School has high aspirations for all of its students and strong engagement with the local community and employers. We believe our school will be the school that we all wish we had been able to go to.

    01568 615510

    Our work with rural communities crosses the English and Welsh Borders and covers the area that straddles either side of Offas Dyke.


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