School to school support within a competitive education system: Views from the inside

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This paper draws on evidence from a study carried out in England to explore how schools can support one another’s improvement within a policy context that emphasises competition. The findings offer some reasons to be optimistic, and are suggestive of the capacity and potential of the school system in England to “self-improve” through collaborative means. However, light is also thrown on a number of barriers that need to be overcome to make such an approach work. The paper argues that developing a greater understanding of the social complexities involved in school-to-school support requires research that takes account of the views of those involved. With this in mind, the paper reflects on the experiences of a group of school leaders in England, leading to lessons that are likely to be relevant to those in other national contexts where competition is seen as a driver for school improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Early online date20 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • School-to-school support
  • System leadership
  • Educational reform
  • Educational improvement


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