This chapter explores school-to-school collaboration via Teaching School Alliances (TSAs) in one locality in England, drawing on governance theory (Bevir, 2011) - specifically hierarchy, markets and networks (Tenbensel, 2015). It focuses on three TSAs in detail, describing their individual development as ‘school-led’ networks, but also how they interact with each other and with other networks in the context of wider hierarchical and market-driven pressures and opportunities. It compares these examples to the three common TSA trajectories described by Greany and Higham (2018) – exclusive, marketised and hierarchical – showing how these trajectories overlap and interact in hybrid forms. It concludes by discussing these findings in relation to social regulation and cohesion (Hood, 1991; Chapman, 2019) and to the wider themes in this book. We argue that whilst collaboration between schools in the English system has been driven at the policy level by an egalitarian narrative, in reality such activity is enacted within a hierarchical and individualist framework which can be in tension with the professional values and ethics of school leaders. We conclude with recommendations, which include a need to: rethink of national and local accountability structures in order to encompass a broader range of outcomes; encourage more ambitious levels of experimentation in how the needs of children and families can best be addressed; focus on place-based coherence and collaboration; and, finally, develop the skills and capacity of front-line leaders to shape productive networks.
Greany, T., & Armstrong, P. (2022). School to school collaboration through Teaching School Alliances in England: ‘system leadership’ in a messy and hybrid governance context. In P. Armstrong, & C. Brown (Eds.), School to School Collaboration: Learning Across International Contexts. London: Emerald