School improvement, pre-service teacher education and the construction of social networks in New Zealand and England

Feb. 11, 2007

Source:  Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 33, Issue 1 February 2007, pages 19 – 33

Educational reformers in New Zealand and England have turned their attention towards network creation as a way of facilitating school improvement. The idea is that greater collaboration can drive school improvement through building professional learning communities, spreading best practice, and driving innovation in education.

It is based on a triple helix model of innovation, which is a term principally used in economics to describe the formation of social relationships between individuals based on collaboration. The introduction of the 'Extending High Standards in Schools' reform in New Zealand, the Performance-based Research Fund and the incorporation of pre-service teacher education into the universities are designed to help create this kind of model of innovation through facilitating knowledge transfer.

This paper offers a critical assessment of the Extending High Standards in Schools reform and related reforms, and argues that although network creation makes sense, the efficacy of the strategy is limited by factors that limit the flow of quality information.

Updated: Dec. 31, 2007