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Collaboration and Networking Among Rural Schools: Can It Work and When? Evidence From England

Peabody Journal of Education: Issues in International Education, Vol. 90, No. 2

Daniel Muljs, University of Southampton


School-to-school collaboration as a school improvement method has grown in importance in England in recent years, and there is some evidence that such collaboration can have a positive impact on both capacity to change and student attainment. Most previous work in the area has focused on the urban context, however, despite the fact that increasing numbers of underperforming rural schools might benefit from collaboration. In this paper we examine the impact of collaboration using a quantitative reanalysis of rural school data from a previous study. We also discuss the conditions under which collaboration in rural areas is likely to be successful, using both reanalysis of rural data from a broader qualitative data set and primary data from telephone interviews. Findings show a positive relationship between collaboration on student attainment and highlight key conditions that need to be met, as well as particular difficulties of rural networks related to size and distance.


Daniel Muijs is Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, England. He is an acknowledged expert in the field of Educational Effectiveness and Leadership and in quantitative research methods and is co-editor of the journal School Effectiveness and School Improvement. He has published widely in the area of networking and collaboration between schools. Muijs holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).