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Lowick Model
Proposal for a new  school in Lowick (Cumbria)

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Lowick Model - Proposal for a new school at Lowick (Cumbria)

We would like to invite you to take part in the development of this proposal to enhance local education provision and community sustainability in Lowick and Blawith.

We should appreciate any comments that you care to make, please use the postcards and supplementary response sheets that are available on the tables. This consultation to review the response to the outline consultation and to establish whether to explore the opportunity further by publishing a formal proposal to the School Organisation committee to apply for funding from September 2004.

Lowick CE School is due to close in September 2004. We are preparing a proposal to create a new school on the site as a key and sustainable, community asset, delivering a combination of primary school services and community education development services run as two parallel activities within the new school.

-- This will make explicit the community development and support role associated with the “school at the heart of the community” that has been implicit in the government led presumption against closure of rural schools.

-- It also embeds the community learning role into the management of the school itself, rather than, as in other models, where this role is run by an external organisation.

The requirements of the original trust deed The school was founded on common land in 1856 by public subscription, which stipulated that it should be a school for all ages and that the premises can only be used as a school. (The schedule signed in 1950’s transferred the trusteeship to the Carlisle Diocese Board of Finance and stated they should manage the Trust according to the original deed.)

The schedule transferring the trusteeship gave the Carlisle Diocesan Board of Finance the power to sell or rent the premises subject to a price agreed by the Secretary of State for Education. The Diocese has stated that they will explore all opportunities for the community use of the premises before resorting to the sale of the building which will result in the loss of the asset to the community.

The Diocese has offered the community the use of the building on a leasehold basis including a full repair lease. It seems reasonable to expect that if the new proposal meets all the requirements of the original trust deed, the terms under which the Diocese will make the building available may be more favourable than if the original trust deed was not satisfied.

Enhanced educational opportunities:
This proposal is for a new school that will deliver a distinctive and unique form of primary and community education in the Furness area. Parents in the Furness area do not have open access to a school with cooperative values and principles. This will be by the application of these values to the governance, policies and procedures and curriculum. Parents, staff and supporters will be able to participate uniquely in the development of primary and community education through the constitution of this cooperative school.

This, integrated with strong links with local secondary schools, a network of urban and rural primary schools, as well as with the international Cooperative movement, will result in exciting and distinctive educational and community development opportunities for Furness area.

Enhanced community sustainability:
The retention of primary education in the Lowick & Blawith area and the development of local community education will help to protect the community from further decline and will be used as a focus for enduring sustainability and regeneration of the area, by promoting local cultural heritage and supporting local social and economic development.

The use of the building for the administration and delivery of community education will support the development of new skills and opportunities for community members. The main theme of the activity will be on the basis of action learning through responding to community needs however traditional adult education will be available in subjects where there is local demand.

The school will deliver the Real Life project in partnership with established regeneration partners including Voluntary Action Cumbria and Community Action Furness and other agencies supporting rural and cooperative enterprise development. Financial viability: The two parallel activities of primary and community education will access separate funding streams and “buy into” resources available through the school with separate operational budgets. This will also reduce the overheads for the running of the Primary School and reduce the financial fluctuations resulting from pupil roll variations.

The delivery of community education locally depends on the existence of the primary school on the site. The delivery of the primary school will be made sustainable by working alongside the community education activities and by providing access to this distinctive form of cooperative education.

The stability and improved accessibility to this form of education which will be established through the creation of Lowick New School will also increase the pupil roll and reduce the cost per head pupil. Overheads of the school to be shared between the two activities include staffing, and the fixed costs of heating and lighting the building. Additional income generating activities associated with the Educational Trust and the Community Mutual will ensure that the school has access to additional resources to supplement statutory provision to ensure high quality of provision.

The school as described in the outline proposal will be unique in the Furness area.

It will provide additional educational opportunities for children, parents and their communities in the Furness area.

It will help to support the sustainability of the school and the community in Lowick. Please support the further exploration of this proposal by supporting the publishing of a formal proposal for Lowick new School to be established and by expressing your intention to take part in activities organised by the Trust and the Community Mutual.

Are there any other issues that you feel need to be satisfied ?
Are there any comments or suggestions that you would like to make to this outline proposal?

Consultation plan
Consultation prior to the publication of a formal proposal will include three strands:

1) Community Consultation
a) “Design-A-School” workshops (SWOT analysis of school, benefits of working as a co-op, vision, curriculum, policies, finances, prospectus, development plan)
b) Public Exhibition of plans at the Coronation Hall, Ulverston on 27th February 2004
c) Consultation at events during the School Reunion (27th -29th February)

2) Online development material is available on the website and an online group of experts in community regeneration and education are being used to strengthen the model being developed.

3) Discussions with all stakeholders, including the parties represented in the decision making for a new school in Cumbria.

For further information and details of meetings to develop these proposals, please contact Lowick & Blawith Educational Trust.
Phone: 01229 885694

Next Steps
At the end of the consultation process if the community wishes to move ahead to the next stage a formal proposal will be published leading to a two month consultation period. A review of the responses of the formal consultation will be made with the support of Lancaster University Management School. This review will be presented to the Cumbrian Schools Organisation Committee early in the Summer Term 2004.

This committee is legally bound to consider this proposal from a new provider of education on its own merits and not to prejudge the case. This gives all parties involved the opportunity to work with the community to find an alternative to loss of local provision of education in Lowick

Development Plan
The development plan for the new school is being explored by the community in their “Design A School” consultation workshops. The plans being developed will need to address all those issues which had made the Lowick CE School vulnerable to closure threat. The model that is being developed uses cooperative principles to strengthen and widen the community involvement in the management of the school, through a new approach to cooperative decision making / engagement of community members in operational and strategic decisions for the school.

Ethos of the school
The ethos of the school will focus upon encouraging all community members to achieve their potential through applying inclusive and democratic cooperative principles to the delivery of education. This will encourage the participation of community members of all ages in local educational development. The school will therefore play a strong role in developing active citizenship within the wider community.

New Curriculum
The community are strengthen the existing school curriculum by engaging local and international skills from within the community and co-operative movement which will provide enhanced educational opportunities for their pupils and a distinctive form of primary and community learning while supporting the ethos of the new school.


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