Collaborative working and contested practices: Forming, developing and sustaining social partnerships in education.
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Despite a lack of applied research, social partnerships are increasingly being adopted by both government and non-government agencies to meet localised needs in education and other fields. This paper discusses the findings of an investigation of how social partnerships can best be formed, developed and sustained over time. Earlier work identified partnerships arising from community concerns, governmental enactment and negotiation between community and government agencies. However, across these distinct kinds of social partnerships, the partnership work that was central to their operation was particularly relevant. In the study reported here, researchers engaged with 10 longstanding social partnerships to elicit, synthesise and verify the principles and practices underpinning their work. The principles and practices that are proposed as most likely to assist the effective formation, development and transformation of social partnerships over time comprise building and maintaining: (i) shared goals; (ii) relations with partners; (iii) capacity for partnership work; (iv) governance and leadership; and (v) trust and trustworthiness. These principles stand as ideals and goals to guide the development and continuity of social partnerships that can support important educational initiatives, and provide bases for evaluating partnership work. However, rather than being benign, this work and these practices are often underpinned by contested relations as much as collaborative work.
Journal of Education Policy
Copyright 2007 Taylor & Francis. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.