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does school collaboration improve outcomes for pupils?

2 November 2015

A report by the Centre for the Study of Market Reform of Education (CMRE) has concluded that there is little evidence that “local, small-scale, and less binding/formal arrangements” of school-to-school collaboration has any impact on pupil attainment. This is because such arrangements are “less likely to be subject to rigorous cost-benefit analysis” and “are thus prone to a lack of clarity around objectives, what resources are likely to be required to achieve them, and to problems with oversight and accountability.”

The report goes on to suggest that the impact of “corporatisation”, i.e. schools forming academy chains or hard federations, “may be more important than collaboration for school improvement” because “scale frees resources for investment in quality control and management of inefficiencies arising from variable school performance within the group.”

Whilst many schools value highly their informal partnership arrangements, it is worth considering critically the impact that these have on pupil outcomes, particularly given the time that is often invested into them.

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