Birmingham & Black Country

School services could be handed to co-operative company

School meals, training and other services could be handed to a non profit making co-operative society run by schools in a West Midlands borough.

Sandwell Council wants to set up the Sandwell Industrial and Provident Society (IPS), with schools becoming the majority owners.

Five hundred staff currently employed by the council would become employees of the society, a spokeman said.

Unison said it had concerns about the co-operative model.

Richard Alonzo, joint branch secretary of Unison in Sandwell, said: "We have clear concerns about the plans - it will be customers not the workers who've got the stake in it."

The IPS would provide services such as music tuition, school meals, health and safety, broadband, and the training of staff and governors, a spokesman said.

The council said schools already spent nearly £9m a year on these services and it invests another £2m.

Councillor Bob Badham said: "Education shouldn't be about making profit so the IPS set-up ensures all the money made stays within schools and services."

Governors, head teachers and staff will be consulted about the proposal, a spokesman said.

The plan will be considered by the council's cabinet on 11 July.

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