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Reflecting on Emerging Partnerships in Education – Experiences from a Swedish Regional Collaboration project
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1147-5736
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3349-226x
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the wake of a Swedish negative trend in international school measurements (for example PISA; OECD, 2013) during a ten-year period (2006-2015), many Swedish municipalities felt the urge to make substantial changes to improve the outcomes of student success. Consequently, several development projects throughout the country were implemented. One such initiative was “From Great to Excellent” (here further referred to as FGTE); a three-year long collaboration project carried out between four Swedish municipalities and a small Swedish university. The main purpose with FGTE was to reduce the gap between the student’s potential (what they could achieve) and their actual school achievement. This overall purpose referred to all forms of schooling (pre-school, primary school, (upper) secondary school and adult education), which face the similar kind of challenge in students’ ability to reach their optimal capacity and goal fulfillment in learning, hence the project participants came from three school levels: pre-school, primary school and (upper) secondary school and adult education. Furthermore, the project's organization consisted of a steering group (with people in leading positions from the participating municipalities), an operational process group (with school representatives from the participating municipalities), and a research group (consisting of three researchers from a small Swedish university). In order to enable progression and create conditions for change, the project participants consisted of different kinds of functions within the schools, such as school leaders, policymakers, and practitioners, so not just teachers.

Research points to the beneficial aspects of school-to-school collaboration in school improvement (Ainscow et al., 2006; Sammons et al., 2007; Cox-Petersen, 2011; Muijs et al., 2011; Muijs, 2015; Hargreaves & O’Connor, 2017). For example, according to Hargreaves and O’Connor, (2017) there is evidence that collaborative relationships benefit schools and Cox-Petersen (2011) indicate that there are great many benefits of creating partnerships among schools, businesses, universities, families, and other community groups, as well as many examples of professional partnerships to enhance the education of. Partnerships in education in the FGTE project emphasize the collaboration between schools, rather than on businesses, families, and other community groups (social contracts).  

This presentation is drawn from our chapter; Coming to Terms with Feedback from Critical Friends: Reflections of Risks in a Swedish Regional Collaboration Project, in a forthcoming book by Springer about risks in partnership. In our chapter we discuss the difficulties that arise when professionals from separate school organizations and from different hierarchical levels within these organizations come together in joint collaborative development work, guided by two questions: 1). What distinguishes the partnerships in the FGTE project between the four municipalities regarding their individual research questions? and 2). What type of risks present themselves in the FGTE project, in regard to the four municipalities as well as to the small university? The aim of this presentation is to recaptualise and summarize the primary results of the collaboration that developed within the FGTE project, to shed some light on what partnerships in education could mean in terms of obstacles and opportunities and its potential implications for school improvement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022.
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-47995OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-47995DiVA, id: diva2:1692693
Conference
ECER 2022 – European Conference Educational Research Annual Conference of EERA at Yerevan State University, Yerevan, Armenia, August 22-26, 2022
Available from: 2022-09-02 Created: 2022-09-02 Last updated: 2022-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Sjöberg, JeanetteGranklint Enochson, Pernilla

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CiteExportLink to record
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