Purpose– The purpose of this paper is twofold, first, it is to reflect on the development of professional capital in a three-year collaborative school improvement initiative that used collaborative inquiry within, between and beyond schools in an attempt to close the gap in outcomes for students from less well-off backgrounds and their wealthier counter parts. Second, this paper will reflect more broadly on the initiative as a whole. Design/methodology/approach– This research and development initiative involved the research team working in a nested setting as second-order action researchers, consultants and critical friends with a range of actors across the system. The findings are based on mixed methods data collected from eight case study school partnerships. The partnerships involved over 50 schools across 14 school districts in Scotland. Social network analysis was also used in one of the school districts to map and quantify professional relationships across schools. Findings– Over time, relationships within the partnerships developed and deepened. This occurred within individual schools, across schools within the partnerships and beyond the school partnerships. At the same time as these networks expanded, participants reported increases in human, social and decisional capital, not only among teachers, but also among other stakeholders. In addition, through their collaborative inquiries schools reported increased evidence of impact on positive outcomes for disadvantaged students. Originality/value– The professional capital of individuals and organisations across and beyond schools is demonstrated as an important consideration in the pursuit of both quality and equity in education.
Journal of Professional Capital and Community – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 4, 2016
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