CrICET: Building Capacity for Collaboration between Schools
1. Building capacity for
collaboration between schools
Prof Mark Hadfield. Cardiff University, Wales
Prof Michael Jopling, Northumbria University, England
Connected Educators webinar 27 October 2014
• Long history of school to school
collaboration in UK, especially in urban
• Brokered by local authorities (school
districts) and other middle tier
organizations, rather than universities.
• Often supported by enquiry-based
approaches to build capacity and promote
(Hadfield & Jopling, 2012)
3. Four interacting elements of
networking and collaboration
Purpose - agreed, common focus and
People - agency
Processes - what people are engaged in
when they are together.
Structures - help bring people together in the
• Iterative process starting at micro level
• Leverage support at different levels
• Building on pre-existing relationships,
connections and networks
• Then move to macro level
6. Collaborative professional learning
Direction and flow Range of processes How processes underpin
One school to one
Mentoring and coaching schemes;
research lesson study programmes;
peer observation schemes.
Having a network mentor/coach – The
mentor can provide new ideas and practice
from elsewhere and motivate practitioners
to become involved in further learning.
One school to many
Programmes of inter-visitations,
critical friendships, school based
Undertaking inter-visitations - A
programme of visits to a school which has
developed an area of expertise can inspires
a groups of staff from other schools to
establish their own innovations.
Many schools to one
Sustained programmes of
professional learning or enquiry
support delivered by school teams.
Regular teacher researcher meetings –
these provided a mixture of support and
pressure for novice researchers to complete
individual enquiries or innovations.
Many schools to many
Network-wide conferences (incl.
pupil voice). Cross-phase and theme
groups, enquiry groups, subject
specialist groups. Network-based
enquiry and action research groups.
Network ‘pupil voice’ conference –
enthusiasm and positive feedback from
pupils involved can inspire teachers in
other schools to become more actively
involved in the network.
7. Characteristic of collaborative learning
• Use external expertise linked to school-based
• Contain observation and feedback;
• Emphasize peer support rather than
leadership by managers;
• Scope for teacher participants to identify their
own CPD focus;
• Processes to encourage, extend and
structure professional dialogue;
• Sustain the CPD over time to enable
teachers to embed the practices in their own
classroom settings. (Cordingley et al, 2003)
8. Discussion 1: enquiry in school
Think about the last 2 or 3 major
collaborative professional learning activities
you have been involved in.
• Which of the characteristics of effective
collaborative professional learning applied
• How could you have improved the activity?
10. Knowledge creation: enquiry
Effective collaborative enquiry
• Action research
• Learning walks
• Lesson study
• Instructional rounds
11. Enquiry-driven collaborative
• Involves employing enquiry methodologies
for a range of purposes
• For leaders to balance external
accountability pressures with a
collaborative desire to improve
• For curriculum innovation and pedagogical
development to become processes of
• For teachers to explore their own and one
12. Transfer of practice
Enquiry into Practice Enquiry into Practice
Replication Adaptation Re-creation
13. Collaborative enquiry and
• When a classroom observation becomes an
act of collaborative enquiry, rather than a
monitoring activity, the dynamic changes from
proving to improving. So does the opportunity
it creates to move practice forward.
• When practitioners and school leaders meet
to explore the data generated for a pupil
progress meeting, it could be a process of
accountability or it could be a collaborative
enquiry into practice and provision in a
specific classroom or school.
14. Collaborative enquiry and
• When the leadership of the school invite
neighbouring principals to help them explore
the impact of a key initiative in school, it
becomes an enquiry into practice rather than
an external monitoring visit. This helps the
host school to understand where it has got to
and where to go next.
• It also gives the visiting practitioners an
opportunity to explore what is emerging and
ask what it might mean for the way things are
back in their own schools.
15. Discussion 2: developing enquiry-based
• To what degree are you ‘ready’ for an
• How would you know?
• How would enquiry methodologies
compliment your existing practices?
• How would enquiry be more effective than
what you already do?
17. Network development
• Be instrumental and purposeful - must
provide the individual gains, and the shared
outcomes, that underpin the collective
• Generate trust and mutual knowledge -
People become drawn into collaborative
action because they know others that are
involved, understand their reasons, and trust
their decision making.
• Help develop a shared identity and make
collaboration meaningful - in order to develop
a ‘sense of belonging’ and ownership.
18. What structures work?
Wheel and spoke
Leadership sits at the centre of a web
of engaged teachers. These school-based
teachers focus on their
individual schools, but they also meet
as a network-wide group. Their work
is disseminated at network
Work is likely to have high degree of
personal meaning for individual
teachers. A critical mass of teachers
can be involved and this gives
economies of scale and may mean it
is possible to secure external support,
i.e. from local university or local
Unless the work of individuals is
connected to the wider network and
school structures it may not be taken
up by others and so fail to impact
outside of their classroom or school.
19. What structures work?
Thematic or role-based
Network configures around
practitioners with similar roles or
project groups are convened to
address particular issues. So it
becomes based on a series of mini-networks.
This structure draws in people that
share subject expertise or an interest
in a specific issue. Such shared foci or
interests can quickly create a critical
mass of experienced people and a
strong community of practice
There is replication of certain functions
within the sub-networks. This can be
costly and there are few economies of
scale. Problems in transferring
learning and materials between sub-networks.
Schools can become
overloaded with too many initiatives
20. Balancing structures and processes
‘On path’ Good
balance of processes
and structure is
structure – not inclusive
High level of
structure/Low level of
productive processes –
unwieldy and costly
21. Discussion 3 Getting enquiry-based
• What improvement priorities would you
select for collaborative enquiry?
• How could existing teams enquire around
these priorities in your school and/or
• What is the capacity in your school to
release people to enquire?
22. References and resources
Cordingley P, Bell M, Rundell B, Evans D (2003) The impact of collaborative CPD on
classroom teaching and learning. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. Version
1.1. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education.
Daly, A.J., and K.S. Finnigan. 2010. A bridge between worlds: Understanding
network structure to understand change strategy. Journal of Educational Change,
11, 2: 111-38
Hadfield, M. and Chapman, C. (2009) Leading school-based networks. London:
Hadfield, M. and Jopling, M. (2012) How might better network theories support school
leadership research? School Leadership and Management 32:2, 109-121
de Lima, J. (2010) Thinking more deeply about networks in education. Journal of
Educational Change 11, 1-21
Resnick, L.B., (2009) Nested learning systems for the thinking curriculum,
Educational Researcher, 39, 3, 183-197