Moore, Tessa Anne (2008)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Although there is limited research into the success of primary school networking initiatives in the UK, there seems to be an unquestioning faith displayed at national Government level for school collaborative working arrangements as a key means for driving forward whole school improvement. This research considers the possible benefits and challenges of one such initiative – Primary Strategy Learning Networks (DfES, 2004a). The research focuses on a reliance on school networks as power bases for promoting a national standards agenda. It considers the impact of an imposed model of school collaboration on the fluid nature of networking. It also acknowledges the benefits of a ‘network balance’ between the positive and negative features that impact on a network’s success and sustainability. Furthermore, the research explores the impact of power, authority and influence on the sustainability of networks. This is a qualitative study and data is gathered through interviews with network headteacher participants in two Primary Strategy Learning Networks over the course of an academic year. The research is also informed by an initial study of a Networked Learning Community (Hopkins and Jackson, 2002). Following an analysis of the findings, a number of recommendations are made. A suggested ‘ideal’ model for productive networking relationships among key stakeholders is offered for consideration and a Realistic Approach (Pawson, 2006) to evaluating such initiatives is argued to ensure a higher degree of success in implementing collaborative working practices for school improvement
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